Loans, limericks, leaders: A stormy start to monsoon session in Maharashtra

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 13, 2015 23:21 IST
Opposition party members staged a protest on the first day of Maharashtra legislature’s monsoon session at the Vidhan Bhavan, in Mumbai. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT photo)

The first day of the Maharashtra legislature’s monsoon session was off to a rocky start, with the opposition attacking the government over loan waiver to farmers and the recent raft of graft allegations against its ministers.

The drama began from the steps of the Vidhan Sabha, where senior leaders from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), including former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, minister Balasaheb Thorat, leaders of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Dhananjay Munde, were seen chanting: “Pankaja Pankaja yes papa, eating chikki yes papa” and “Vinod Vinod yes papa, bogus degree yes papa”.

The treasury and opposition benches clashed over the issue of loans to farmers in both the houses. In the assembly, the opposition demanded a debate on the loan waiver before proceeding with the business of the house.

When the speaker refused to admit the demand, the members entered the well of the house, shouting slogans.

The opposition also raised objections over the changes made in the order of the house, placing the condolence motions last. Former speaker and NCP member Dilip Walse Patil said not giving priority to the condolence motion is an insult to the deceased members of the house. Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar objected to the statement, saying the government was only following the precedents laid by the previous regime.

The council proceedings kicked off with opposition leader Dhananjay Munde demanding an immediate review of the agrarian crisis and demanding a loan waiver by the state.

“The issue is grave and farmers are suffering. No relief has reached them yet. We need an immediate decision. No other issue should be discussed today,” said Munde. His demand was supported by Congress legislators, with MLC Manikrao Thackeray alleging the government was not serious about farmers, whose condition had worsened owing to the poor monsoon.

The house had to be adjourned thrice, with members of the opposition stepping into the well of the house, flashing banners and raising slogans against the government. Even though agriculture minister Eknath Khadse said the state was ready to discuss the issue, the opposition said they needed a decision.

On the first day
* The Congress has formed a legislative affairs committee to chalk out a strategy to corner the government on various issues during the ongoing monsoon session

* The committee, formed on the lines of the parliamentary affairs committee of the Congress leaders in the Parliament, comprises top-rung party men, including leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Prithviraj Chavan, Shivajirao Deshmukh, Patangrao Kadam, Varsha Gaikwad among others

* The steps of the Vidhan Sabha rang with leading leaders from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party shuring slogans such as “Pankaja Pankaja yes papa, eating chikki yes papa”, “Vinod Vinod yes papa, bogus degree yes papa”

* On Monday, both the Houses tabled condolence motions for late NCP leader Govindrao Adik, former ministers Dr Baliram Hire and Pratapsingh Mohite-Patil, former MLCs Shantaram Karmalkar and Shivajirao Marutrao Patil.

* In the assembly, a supplementary budget of Rs 14,000 crore was tabled

* The government also made the provision of Rs 799 crore, to pay off the toll contractors as compensation for exempting small vehicles from toll tax at 53 plazas

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