Mumbai: As the
crucial budget session of the Maharashtra legislature opens here
Monday, the opposition is set to attack the the ruling Congress-NCP
government on issues like the Bhandara rape case, drought, and the
The recent incidents of alleged rape-cum-murder of three minor
sisters in Bhandara, the brutal killing of three Dalit youths in
Ahmednagar, growing crimes against women and female foeticide will
be part of the opposition charge against the beleaguered
Democratic Front government.
The government will also face fire over the worsening drought
situation in the state due to faulty and allegedly corrupt
irrigation planning, continuing suicides of farmers and deepening
crisis in the farm sector.
The recent clashes between activists of the Nationalist Congress
Party (NCP) and Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)
would add fuel to the opposition fire.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is allegedly linked to the
Rs.70,000 crore irrigation scam, has been facing the combined
attack of the Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the MNS
weeks before the budget session.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray Saturday sounded the war
bugle in Amravati by demanding "an account of the Rs.70,000 crore"
and claimed that his party-led alliance would form the next
government in the state.
The budget session 2013-14, starting here Monday with an address
by Governor K. Sankaranarayanan has assumed added significance as
it will be the last before the next Lok Sabha elections, scheduled
The economic survey for the country's most industrialised state
shall be presented March 19, followed by the budget the next day,
Since January, the state has been facing severe water crisis,
considered even worse than the great drought of 1972 and affecting
6,000 villages across the state.
The immediate fallout has been increased rural influx into urban
areas, which are already facing resource crunch.
According to official data, 123 talukas spread across 15 of the
state's 35 districts are gripped by the current drought-like
crisis, with three months more to go for the monsoon.
The central government has extended a relief package of Rs.5.74
billion, but the political parties have demanded more money to
help tide over the crisis.
On the irrigation scam front, the opposition has reservations over
the nature of the probe announced at the fag end of the winter
session of the legislature in December 2012 in Nagpur.
In a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Leader of the
Opposition in the council Vinod Tawde has demanded amendments to
the terms of reference given to the Special Investigating Team
(SIT) probing the irrigation scam.
One of the points of reference says that the executive directors
of various state irrigation corporations shall furnish all
information and facilities required by the SIT for its probe.
Strangely enough, the officials heading these irrigation
corporations are at the receiving end of the allegations of
irregularities along with their political masters.
Tawde's letter came after the SIT head and water management expert
Madhav Chitale recently said that it had no powers to probe the
officials involved in the irrigation scams.
Home Minister R.R. Patil will have a lot of answering to do on the