The two-day winter session of Maharashtra, for the first time in Mumbai and not in Nagpur from December 14, is likely to be a routine affair except for a war of words between the ruling and opposition on a few issues. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in particular, appear to be confident to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is yet to recover from its humiliating defeat in the state council election held in the graduates and teachers constituencies. MVA, which completed one year in office on November 28, plans to corner BJP on its repeated deadlines over the fall of the government. Further, Thackeray and his deputy Ajit Pawar have hinted that a stable and strong government was ready to counter the ‘demoralised’ BJP on any issue during the two-day session.
Although the state government had spent almost eight months in combating the coronavirus pandemic, the ruling partners Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, barring few exceptions, have remained united despite BJP’s repeated claim that the government will fall due to internal contradictions. However, Thackeray has clarified that he, in particular, feels much more comfortable in the company of new allies, than BJP, which he claimed to be perverted. Similar bonhomie will be seen during the winter session to unite and checkmate BJP in both the houses of the state legislature.
On its part, BJP and other opposition parties are geared up to target the MVA government on a series of issues, including the change in the Metro3 carshed to Kanjurmarg from Aarey Colony, COVID-19 crisis, restoration of Maratha reservation, OBC community’s warning against touching their quota and farmers crisis, especially after the recent untimely rains and floods. Moreover, the Sushant Singh Rajput case, arrest of Arnab Goswami, Enforcement Directorate (ED) inquiry of Shiv Sena Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Pratap Sarnaik, relief to electricity consumers who received inflated bills during lockdown and the introduction of Shakti Act to curb violence against women and children will also come up for discussion.
Thackeray has already clarified that the government was stable and strong, while leader of opposition Devendra Fdnavis has claimed that the government with ego and arrogance has failed on every front. A verbal duel between Thackeray and Fadnavis is expected.
However, the state government, which is struggling to revive the economy and bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure, will table supplementary demands. Already, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the finance and planning department, has said the government has a monthly revenue shortfall of Rs 8,000 to 9,000 crore despite unlocking many activities. Opposition proposes to expose the MVA government on its handling of the economic revival, though the latter is ready to swiftly pass the buck on to the Centre. The state government is yet to receive R 28,000 crore from the Centre towards Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other dues, while it has not got any substantial assistance for paying compensation to the villages hit by natural calamity.