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Will Maharashtra CM be the Opposition’s target in monsoon session of state legislature?

Congress, NCP plan sharper attack on BJP government, plan to raise issues such as agrarian crisis and Cidco land allotment.

mumbai Updated: Jul 04, 2018 14:11 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra CM,Devendra Fadnavis,monsoon session of state legislature
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.(HT File Photo)

Ahead of an election year, the monsoon session of the state legislature is likely to see an aggressive opposition that may for the first time in the three-and-a-half years since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power in the state, try to put chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on the mat.

The Congress’ allegations a day earlier against Fadnavis directly over a land allotment scam in Navi Mumbai in the presence of the party national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala is an indicator of the party getting into attack mode with an eye on the polls. “Whether it’s land allotment scam in Navi Mumbai or earlier allegations against Prakash Mehta, the chief minister needs to take responsibility and give us answers over these allegations. These scams will be flagged in the monsoon session of the state legislature and blanket clean chits by the CM will not be accepted,” said senior Congress legislator and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.

The change in leadership with leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge replacing Mohan Prakash as All India Congress Committee in charge of Maharashtra is also an indicator that Delhi has an eye on the state and wants state-level leadership to shape up its legislature strategy. Kharge held a meeting of senior Congress leaders last week and another meeting of local leaders as well as functionaries has been planned over this Sunday and Monday.

“We have been told to be more aggressive and put the government on the mat. If we can’t attack the CM now despite so many scams of his ministers and anger among rural populace, we may as well hang up our boots. There will be some hand-holding from Delhi unlike when Mohan Prakash was in charge,” admitted another Congress legislator, who did not want to be named.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is also better geared for the role of the Opposition with party chief Sharad Pawar clarifying earlier this year it is in the role of the Opposition and will have a poll tie-up with the Congress.

“The state government has failed to deliver on any of its promises to the farmers whether it is loan waiver or compensation for pink bollworm infestation. That is solely the CM’s failure to pay attention to the farmers. We won’t let the session work unless our demands for farmers are accepted,” said Leader of Opposition in the Council and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde.

The Opposition parties are also looking at a united strategy on the floor of the house. Besides holding a joint strategy meeting on Tuesday, a day before the session starts, the Congress, the NCP along with smaller parties like the Peasants and Workers Party and the Samajwadi Party are also planning to meet regularly over the course of three weeks to finalise the approach in the House.

“This time, we want to force the government together to hold discussions on all issues and controversies from Mumbai’s development plan, plastic ban to agrarian crisis. The unending scams of the government will, of course, be a focus ,” said Leader of Opposition in the assembly and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.

However, with the Congress in the state assembly facing a leadership crisis and a split between senior leaders, some legislators have questioned whether the party will be able to pull off a successful show in the legislature.

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 11:00 IST