Maharashtra’s winter session likely to be curtailed to two days
After the Parliament cancelled its winter session, the Maharashtra legislature, too, is expected to either cancel its winter session or hold it for just two days, down from the traditional duration of two weeks.
The state government is also considering holding the budget session in Nagpur and Mumbai, in two parts, so as to fulfil a condition in the Nagpur pact that at least one session of the state legislature should be held in the second capital of the state every year.
The pact was announced when Vidarbha region was included in Maharashtra at the time of formation of the state.
The final decision over the session is expected to be taken in a meeting of the business advisory committee (BAC) of the state legislature on Thursday or Friday.
The state government during the BAC meeting earlier this month decided to not hold the winter session in Nagpur as organised every year, owing to the expected spike in Covid-19 cases in the state.
The government had also decided to take a call over dates and the duration of the session by reviewing the Covid-19 situation in the state.
“The government will have to hold it for at least two days to get the supplementary budget passed for additional burden of health expenditure. In such a scenario, cancelling it altogether would not be possible. The RT-PCR tests [gold standard of Covid-19 detection] for those attending the session will be made mandatory if it is being held even for two days. As such, we will need a couple of days for preparation and it would not be possible to hold it from December 7 as was scheduled earlier,” said an official from Mantralaya.
On splitting the budget session into two parts, another official said, “As per the Nagpur Pact of 1953, one legislative session has to be held in the second capital of the state. Although it could be made an exception, holding one of the sessions in Nagpur becomes politically important, especially for parties like Congress, which has a strong voter base in Vidarbha. But holding it for a full duration of five to six weeks in Nagpur would not be possible. By presenting the budget in Nagpur legislature, the remaining business could be shifted to Mumbai by taking a break of a week. The budget session is expected to begin in the second half of February.”
“We have made preparations. The date and the duration will be decided during the BAC meeting,” said Rajendra Bhagwat, secretary, state legislature.