Maharashtra: Amid govt-guv tussle, dev boards, MLC appointments in a limbo
Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Monday said in the state assembly that they wanted the governor to clear 12 appointments recommended by the state Cabinet as members of the legislative council, indicating that the tussle between governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government could continue. Pawar also said they will constitute the development boards of Vidarbha and Marathwada regions as soon as the governor clears the appointments.
The governor, in April last year, had written to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting him to extend the term of these boards for another five years. But Thackeray took no cognizance of his letter and is yet to form the development boards.
To remove development backlogs in irrigation and other sectors, three statutory development boards—one each for Vidarbha, Marathwada and rest of Maharashtra—was set up in 1994 under Article 371 of the Constitution. The five-year term of the boards expired in April last year.
“The development boards will be formed and there is no doubt about it. While presenting the budget I will ensure appropriate provisions of funds are made for Vidarbha and Marathwada regions. We are also looking to constitute the boards as early as possible. But the state Cabinet has proposed 12 names to be appointed as members of the legislative council and has sent them to the governor. The day the governor makes the appointments, we will constitute the development boards the same day or the very next day,” Pawar said in the Lower House.
He was responding to the demand of Opposition leaders to constitute the development boards, which, according to them, are necessary for the balanced development of all the regions in the state.
“I request you to take necessary action for securing extension to the term of the development boards by five years urgently as the present term expires on April 30, 2020,” states the letter written by Koshyari to the chief minister on April 24 last year.
“The development board structure was put in place to ensure that attempts towards balanced regional development are well-implemented and that all the regions are provided equitable development. Considering the progress in ensuring equitable regional development since the boards are working and need to work further in view of the existing regional inequalities, I feel that there is a necessity to continue this structure for a further period,” it added.
The governor exercises direct control on these development boards following the provisions under Article 371 (2) of the Constitution. He is also authorised to give specific directions on the allotment of funds to remove development backlogs of regions, which are binding on the government.
The MVA government is locked in a bitter tussle with the governor over various issues. It has been almost four months since the government, on November 6, 2020, recommended 12 names to Koshyari for nomination to the legislative council from governor quota . MVA leaders have been expressing unhappiness as Koshyari is yet to accept the government’s recommendation.
Last month, Thackeray did not permit Koshyari to use the state’s aeroplane to travel to Dehradun in Uttarakhand. This has led to a controversy and blame game between the Raj Bhavan secretariat and the state.