BJP-Sena upbeat before last session of legislature
Chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis’s confidence has grown following a thumping victory in the Lok Sabha elections.Updated: Jun 17, 2019 08:34 IST
Both the ruling and opposition parties are ready for a showdown as the last session of the state legislature during the tenure of the BJP-Shiv Sena government begins on Monday. The ruling parties are upbeat following their victory in the Lok Sabha elections and plan to announce several populist decisions ahead of the Assembly elections expected in September-October.
Chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis’s confidence has grown following a thumping victory in the Lok Sabha elections.
The Opposition will get a new leader, Vijay Wadettiwar, as the previous leader of Opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil defected to the BJP, and has become a minister. While opposition parties like NCP always blamed Vikhe Patil for being soft on BJP, Wadettiwar is known to be an aggressive leader.
Following the reshuffle of the state cabinet on Sunday, the Opposition alleged that ministers were removed from the council owing to corruption charges, which was refuted by Fadnavis. He said no minister was removed over corruption charges or for under-performance. According to the CM, the expansion was done to give chances to some new faces. Fadnavis also indicated a decision related to Dhangar reservation.
He further said the government will try to clear 28 bills in this session. Of them, 13 are new and remaining 15 are pending bills (12 in state Assembly and 3 in state Council). The bills include conversion of an ordinance promulgated to uphold admissions of around 253 postgraduate medical and dental students from the Maratha community, which were cancelled following a Supreme Court (SC) decision.
On Sunday, the Opposition parties decided to boycott the customary tea-party hosted by the CM on the eve of monsoon session of the state legislature. The decision was taken in a joint meeting held by all the leaders from most Opposition parties. The meeting was called to prepare the Opposition’s strategy to corner the government during the two-week long monsoon session.
“This will be the last session of this government as people will vote them out in the Assembly polls,” said Dhananjay Munde (NCP), leader of the Opposition in the state council in a joint press conference post meeting. Demanding a blanket loan waiver and waiving off agricultural power bills of farmers, he said, “Fadnavis has declared making Maharashtra villages drought-free, but got exposed with this year’s drought, which is more severe than the one in 1972. The Dhangar community is still waiting for reservation.”
The Opposition parties have also planned to raise the state’s decision of scrapping oral exams in SSC board as a result of which the pass percentage of the state has dropped by 12%. “The government has done injustice to lakhs of students,” Munde said.
The Congress and NCP also raised concerns over the defection of their leaders to BJP and Shiv Sena. Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said the ruling parties are trying to weaken the opposition. “A strong and good opposition is necessary for a healthy democracy, but the ruling parties are weakening us deliberately. Why do they need leaders from opposition parties when they are in majority right from Delhi to everywhere in the state,” he asked.
The government will present its full-fledged budget on Tuesday. In February, the state adopted the interim budget to accommodate expenditure for centrally-sponsored schemes, till the time the new government assumes charge.
Meanwhile, the CM hinted at a decision related to reservation for Dhangars, a long-pending demand of the community. Traditionally shepherds, the community wants to be included as part of the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category, which will make them eligible to get reservation benefits up to 7%. Currently, Dhangars are part of Nomadic Tribe (NT) community and get 3.5% reservation in government jobs and education.
“We are ready to face the state legislature session with self-confidence. People are behind us as we have faced all challenges competently. We are also sure the BJP-Sena government will return to power,” Fadnavis said.
Countering the charges of the Opposition, the chief minister said that they should introspect why their leaders are not ready to stay in their respective parties. “They have no trust left in the leadership,” Fadnavis said, taking a jibe at the leadership of Congress and NCP.