The Devendra Fadnavis-led government is set have a tough time in the upcoming winter session of the state legislature that begins in Nagpur on December 7. The opposition, Congress and NCP, are expected to corner the government on several issues such as “poor redressal of the drought-like situation in the state”, rising prices of essential commodities, intolerance and deteriorating law and order situation, among others.
“There is a widespread discontent with the government’s performance across all sections of society,” said Ashok Chavan, former chief minister and Congress’ state unit chief.
The Congress has planned a march on Tuesday, the second day of the session, to protest against the government’s inaction on farmer suicides, increasing agrarian distress and other issues. Chavan said the protest march would include representatives from all sections of the society. Former CMs Prithviraj Chavan, Narayan Rane, former state unit chief Manikrao Thakre and senior leaders Patangrao Kadam, Shivajirao Deshmukh, Harshawardhan Patil along with state youth Congress chief Vishwajit Kadam are expected to be part of the protest march.
However, revenue minister Eknath Khadse said the government has “done a lot” in one year and it was ready to face the opposition on the floor of the House.
“Lots of decisions have been taken in the past one year and if they talk about the drought situation, the government is with the farmers,” said Khadse. He alleged that the bad policies of the erstwhile Congress-NCP government have left the state in the awful situation. “Whatever problems we are facing today have not occurred in one year. If they [Congress-NCP] had formulated good policies in the past, the situation of Maharashtra would have been different altogether,” he said.
The Congress has been accusing the government of failing on all fronts, especially farmer suicides and rising prices, during its first year in power. Chavan has accused the state of failing to obtain adequate financial assistance from the Centre – the way Tamil Nadu has managed.
The Congress is also demanding the resignation of finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and education minister Vinod Tawde, after the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court’s strong observation against the state government on the issue of sexual harassment of a resident doctor at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). The Congress claims that the college dean, Abhimanyu Niswade, was transferred to Nanded because he took action into the sexual harassment allegations against Makrand Vyawahare, a relative of Mungantiwar. The government, however, has denied the allegations and said the transfer had nothing to do with the case.
The NCP is also expected to join the Congress to take on the BJP-led government, with senior party leader Nawab Malik already demanding a judicial probe into the alleged multi-crore pulse scam. The NCP wants food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat over the scam. However, most NCP legislators would not be present in the House during the first week of the session owing to the 75th birthday celebrations of party chief Sharad Pawar from December 10.
(With inputs from Faisal Malik in Mumbai)