The stalemate in the state legislature over deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s controversial remarks seems to have ended on Monday after the Opposition parties lost their sting amid budget issues that demanded attention.
While the BJP-Sena staged a walk-out in the assembly and held sit-in agitation in the council demanding Pawar’s resignation, they could not stall the proceedings as the annual budget needed to be approved on Monday – the last day for department-wise discussion in which members raise issues and ministers reply to suggestions and objections.
The shift in focus brought much-wanted relief to Pawar and the government.
Speaker Dilip Walse Patil and council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh denied the Opposition permission to discuss any matter related to Pawar, whose colleagues from the Nationalist Congress Party were more aggressive than the Opposition on Monday and shouted anti-BJP-Sena slogans.
A record 11 departments, which were lined up for cash approval on the last day of the budget discussion, were discussed on Monday. The ministers concerned wound up their replies in record time too.
Last week, the Opposition had stalled proceedings demanding Pawar’s resignation and seeking an apology from the chief minister.
Opposition leader Eknath Khadse took a dig at Pawar for his atonement fast on Sunday.
“Atonement will not help. He must resign in repentance and work for drought-affected people,” said Khadse, even as NCP legislators hooted him.
The speaker spoiled Khadse’s effort to raise the issue.
In the upper house, too, the Opposition did not succeed in getting the chairman to approve a discussion.
“Every constituency and government needs money, and any delay in approving the budget could have impacted payments for establishment and other important things,” said a minister, requesting anonymity.