Nagpur: A feast of
controversies awaits the Maharashtra opposition to put the ruling
Congress-NCP coalition government on the mat during the
fortnight-long winter session of the legislature starting here
Days before the session, the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP-MNS combine
has already made clear its aggressive attitude on several issues,
the prime being the alleged Rs.20,000-crore scam in the state
The opposition swords have been further sharpened with the
reinduction of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) strongman Ajit
Pawar as deputy chief minister 10 weeks after he quit the cabinet
and just three days before the session.
The opposition will also question the 'White Paper' on the
irrigation department and the 'clean chit' to Pawar which enabled
his return to the ministry.
Leaders of Opposition Eknath Khadse in the assembly and Vinod
Tawde in the council, both from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),
have termed the report as a 'black paper' and demanded that
Special Investigation Team should probe the irrigation department,
headed by Ajit Pawar for 10 years.
Until the probe is ordered, they have threatened to disrupt the
Besides Pawar, NCP leader and Tourism and PWD Minister Chhagan
Bhujbal too will be targeted for his alleged involvement in
irregularities in the construction of new Maharashtra Sadan in New
Another target could be former minister of state Gulabrao Deokar
who was embroiled in the 15-year-old Jalgaon housing scam in which
also figures the name of former minister and Shiv Sena legislator
This time, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya has hurled allegations against
assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil, also of the NCP, for his role
in the Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Ltd. The NCP shot back by
denying the allegations and threatening proceedings for breach of
privilege against Somaiya.
There is also Congress leader and state Education Minister
Rajendra Darda whose name has cropped up in alleged irregularities
in coal block allocations.
He could be targeted during the brief session, scheduled to end
Hoping to cool the rising temperatures, Chief Minister Prithviraj
Chavan has invited the opposition leaders to his customary
eve-of-the-session tea party, which the latter boycotted Sunday.
Another headache for the NCP could be the law and order situation
in the state, with particular reference to the Aug 11 violence at
Azad Maidan which left two dead and several injured, besides
firing on sugarcane farmers and recent attacks on women across the
The issue of the arrest of two girls from Palghar in Thane over a
Facebook comment after the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal
Thackeray will also be raised during the session.
However, opposition efforts to sponsor a no-confidence move
against the government have not yet fructified due to differences
within its ranks on the issue.
On the other hand, the government is planning to showcase its
achievements, which includes the hanging of Pakistani terrorist
Ajmal Kasab in Pune Nov 21.
The government will also tom-tom about its success in securing
12.50 acres in Dadar for a memorial to Bhimrao Ambedkar, who wrote
the Indian Constitution.
Certain other initiatives of the state government will also be
exploited to strengthen its side. These include being the first to
commit the implementation of foreign investment in multi-brand
retail, decisions on the crucial housing sector, clearance granted
to Mumbai Trans Harbour Link across the Arabian Sea and
fast-tracking of mega-infrastructure projects.
However, on Monday the beginning of the session will be peaceful
with obituary references to former members of the house, including
two-time former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, former speaker
Babasaheb Kuppekar and former Congress legislator Kanhaiyalal
Gidwani, the chief promoter of the scam-tainted Adarsh Cooperative
Like parliament, the assembly will also pass a special condolence
motion for Bal Thackeray, who never held any public or elective
office, but strode over the state's political scene like a
colossus for over four decades.
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