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Maharashtra’s budget session begins today

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-03-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

Mumbai: The budget session of Maharashtra legislature begins on Monday amid strained relationship between ruling partners Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena and a demand from opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to waive farm loans. Following the BJP’s withdrawal from the mayoral poll in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has paved the way for the election of Shiv Sena nominee on 8 March, the Devendra Fadnavis government has ensured its stability, BJP and Shiv Sena functionaries say.

During the campaign for the civic polls, the Shiv Sena had repeatedly said that its ministers in the Fadnavis government could resign any moment while NCP chief Sharad Pawar had even talked of mid-term polls in the state in the event of Shiv Sena pulling out. Fadnavis, however, has ruled out any threat to his government and said on Sunday that his government will complete its term.

Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar will present the state budget for 2017-18 on 18 March. The session will conclude on 7 April. The business advisory committee has finalized work for 23 days, according to Maharashtra’s parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat. Bapat said the session will see two pending bills being re-introduced. The government will also present six ordinances for conversion into acts, he said.

On Sunday, the opposition Congress and NCP boycotted the customary tea-party hosted by the chief minister ahead of the session. Dhananjay Munde, NCP leader and leader of the opposition in the state legislative council, said the opposition would take up the demand for farm debt waiver during the session.

Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Congress leader and leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly, supported this demand, and said the Shiv Sena should come clean on this issue. “Before the BMC election, Shiv Sena ministers made a big show of meeting the chief minister demand farm debt waiver. They also said they carried their resignation letters in the pocket and they would resign the moment Uddhav Thackeray asks them to. We would like to know from Shiv Sena what is their stand now,” Patil said.

Both opposition parties criticized BJP and Shiv Sena for “hypocrisy and for cheating people”. “They called each other names during the election campaign and have now made up. People will see through this hypocrisy and fraud,” said Vikhe-Patil.

A delegation of opposition leaders met governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao on Sunday to submit a memorandum of demands including farm debt waiver.

Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab told a Marathi news channel on Sunday that his party would raise the issue of farm debt waiver during the session. “The Shiv Sena will continue to raise issues that concern the larger good of the people. We stand by our demand for debt waiver and we will keep raising it,” Parab said.

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