Maharashtra: Winter Session To Tackle Maratha Reservation & Agrarian Distress Amid Political Dynamics

Maharashtra: Winter Session To Tackle Maratha Reservation & Agrarian Distress Amid Political Dynamics

The old heritage building of Vidhan Bhavan and its new infrastructure are all decked up for the state government’s winter sojourn.

Ramu BhagwatUpdated: Tuesday, December 05, 2023, 09:34 PM IST
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Vidhan Bhavan (State Legislative Assembly) in Nagpur. | Picasa

Nagpur: The Winter Session of the Maharashtra legislature beginning here on Thursday is likely to be a high decibel political affair inside as well as outside the Vidhan Bhavan. The Maratha reservation issue that has become a thorn in the side for the Eknath Shinde government is expected to play up again along with the agrarian distress caused by recent unseasonal rains.

Tight security deployed

The old heritage building of Vidhan Bhavan and its new infrastructure are all decked up for the state government’s winter sojourn. An unprecedented security apparatus of 11,000 police officers and 10 companies of State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) will be deployed for the session which will hold 10 sittings as four days will be lost in weekend holidays during the two-week session ending on December 20.

“Farmers in many parts of the state and especially the cotton and soybean cultivators of Vidarbha have suffered huge losses because of untimely rains that have ruined kharif as well as rabi crops. The government has not provided any relief to them. We will take this up aggressively,” said the leader of the opposition Vijay Wadettiwar.

Range of issues expected to be discussed

This will be the first legislative session here of the new political dispensation after the split in Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress party leading to the Shinde faction and later the Ajit Pawar faction joining hands with the BJP to form government overthrowing the Mahavikas Aghadi government helmed by Uddhav Thackray.

The session holds special significance this time as it is virtually the last for the current government before the code of conduct kicks in for the next elections. The ruling party combine is confident of weathering any storm on the Maratha-OBC issues or the demand for caste census that could be raised by the Opposition. Among the large protests and demonstrations planned outside the legislature is an NCP rally organized by Rohit Pawar which will be addressed by veteran politician Sharad Pawar.

The winter session held every year as per the commitment given in the Nagpur Pact signed in 1953 to give full justice to the neglected region of Vidartbha is seen as a mere ritual at a heavy cost to the public exchequer. The public at large sees it as an extravaganza that has no relevance to them.

“As a taxpayer, I have never been told of the exact money that goes into shifting the base of the entire government for a short stay. Humongous amounts are spent to spruce up and renew facilities at Vidhan Bhavan, ministers cottages in Ravi Bhavan, the MLA hostels, and the Nag Bhavan and other guest houses where state officials put up,” said Dilip Rao, a local resident.

'Government should seriously solve issues related to Vidarbha'

No doubt the annual event gives a huge fillip to the local economy with the hospitality industry, government contractors, and suppliers benefitting greatly from it. Most of the ministers and influential MLAs prefer to stay in luxury hotels leaving their allotted government accommodation for the support staff. “All my properties get full occupancy during the period”, agreed Micky Arora of a major hotel chain in the city. "But I am happy that the local economy gets a boost and it trickles down to even street vendors or cab drivers who earn an extra buck during the session,” Arora added.

“Holding winter session is obligatory for the state. However, it should not be treated as a picnic. The government should seriously solve issues related to Vidarbha so that expenses incurred in holding the session are justified. Over the years expenses for the session drastically increased but the output of the proceedings has decreased,” lamented Vidarbha Taxpayers Association president Shrawan Kumar Malu.

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