Mumbai: A book release on Wednesday by Devendra Fadnavis became an occasion for much banter and repartee, mostly digs at the former Maharashtra chief minister.
Given that the book authored is on a wry subject – the modalities of Budget making – it ought to have been a more solemn occasion. Instead, the august gathering -- the leaders of the MVA and presiding officers of both the Houses -- lampooned Fadnavis as never before.
Among those sharing the mirth were Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Speaker of Assembly Nana Patole and Chairman of Legislative Council Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar.
"I never thought I will get to speak on the Budget. I owe this entirely to you," Uddhav Thackeray said, tongue firmly in cheek; then, he added, words dripping with sarcasm, "I think you wrote this book just for me, because I know nothing about budget."
Speakers from the ruling party made it a point to congratulate Fadnavis with the fervent hope that he will be the leader of the Opposition for the next 5 to 10 years.
"You should keep writing on budget – you have 5 to 10 years to go as Opposition leader. This will help us understand our shortcomings better," Thackeray told Fadnavis amidst laughter.
"You were in the seat of power. But your talent has blossomed as an opposition leader. So, keep up the good work for the ensuing years," Speaker Nana Patole said in zest.
Ajit Pawar, too, decided not to hold back his punches. "Fadanvis is indeed a very good author, he should continue writing such excellent books. Ram Naik ji, please take Fadnavis to the Centre. If need be, we, the 288 legislators, will pass a resolution for this. And if this happens, Sudhir Mungantiwar will be the happiest person."
Chairman Nimbalkar had a request: "Why can’t we simplify the budget itself, so that nobody needs a book to understand the nuances?’’ The book in Marathi is titled "Arthsankalp - Sopya Bhashet," which was released in the Central Hall of the State legislature.