Maharashtra may curtail its monsoon session to 4 days, take it online
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the state government may curtail its monsoon session to four days and hold it online. It is scheduled to be held from June 22, as announced earlier.
With the state under a lockdown for more than two months, and the restrictions likely to continue for a few more weeks in Mumbai and other cities, the state legislature and government has started to deliberate on plans for the session. The state legislature is looking at conducting it online, to reduce the footfall on Vidhan Bhavan premises, by allowing only a limited number of ministers and legislators. “We are looking at all options, including holding it online, partially online and in a staggered manner. Various online platforms are being tested for safety and efficiency too. Deferring it for a few more weeks is also an option, as the session can be held any time before September 14 (six months from the previous session). Conducting the session is necessary for budgetary provisions for Covid-19 related expenditure,” said an official from the parliamentary affairs department.
The official said another problem is accommodation for legislators coming to Mumbai. He said that after Manora guesthouse was demolished a few months ago and the availability of flats at other guesthouses has reduced. “Availability of hotel rooms too seems to be difficult at present,” he said.
Assembly Speaker Nana Patole met Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla early this week and discussed the options. “We may hold it at the Central hall for two days each for the Assembly and Council to maintain social distance. Conducting it online looks difficult. We may restrict entry and attendance of legislators and staff to ensure minimum possible footfall the premises and even in the houses. The final decision about the date and the ways it be conducted will be taken during the meeting of the business advisory committee on June 9,” said Patole.
The state legislature has begun the proceedings required to conduct the session. The ballot for the choice of the questions to be raised was conducted through Zoom App recently.
Meanwhile, Nana Patole rubbished the claim of change of guard in Maharashtra Congress. “This is not the right time to make any changes to the party leadership in the state,” he said. There were reports that Patole is likely to be appointed the state president and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is likely to replace him. Chavan too has said that he was not aware of any such move under consideration by the party leadership.