The deadlock over suspension of nine legislators continued on Monday as the Opposition in both houses boycotted the work for the second day. They have now come up with a demand that would be very tricky for the government to fulfill.
As a result, the debate on the budget was deferred though some minor legislative proceedings took place before the assembly was adjourned for the day. The Upper House worked a bit longer, albeit without the Opposition members.
The Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and others not only pressed for revocation of the suspension, but also demanded equitable allocation of the money for all legislators. Another round of talks will be held on Tuesday.
The normal functioning of the state legislature has been disturbed since last Wednesday when the Opposition members, demanding control of local committees on distribution of funds to the destitute, disturbed the budget speech by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. As a result, nine Sena-BJP legislators were suspended by the Congress-Nationalist Congress party (NCP) combine on Thursday.
Sources in the ruling party said conceding to equitable allocation would mean reworking of the state plan of Rs41,500 crore. However, Pawar is reported to be positive towards the demand provided chief minister Prithviraj Chavan approves of the restructuring.
“The exercise will be tricky because the budget is already finalised and if the CM wants to restructure it, he will have to cut the demand of departments. In the long run, the surplus budget may even show some deficit,” said a senior Congress minister on condition of anonymity.
Meantime, the Legislative Council raised the issue of absence of the Opposition members from the house saying it there was no relation between the functioning of the upper house and the lower house.
“The Opposition is setting a new trend by linking issues between the two houses,” said Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap.
Council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh said he would meet the Opposition leaders soon.