The Maharashtra assembly passed supplementary demands amounting to Rs. 11,104 crore for 2016-17 amid din as the opposition and Shiv Sena MLAs vociferously demanded loan waiver for farmers.
The demands were passed without debate in the Lower House which witnessed three adjournments as MLAs of ruling alliance partner Shiv Sena joined the opposition in their protest. The House was later adjourned for the day after clearing a few bills amid pandemonium.
Opposition members were on their feet immediately after the House resumed post four-day Holi break.
Speaker Haribhau Bagde said he was rejecting the adjournment notices given by the opposition since the House has to deliberate on supplementary demands.
Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said there can be no other agenda before the House till the government announces a loan waiver for farmers.
The issue of agriculture debt waiver dominated the proceedings of the House last week too.
Vikhe Patil read out a letter written last year by Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat to social activist Baba Adhav, who was then on a fast demanding farm loan waiver.
He said Bapat, in the letter, said his government was committed to the welfare of farmers and that loan waiver was in interest of cultivators. Bapat had also said a positive decision will be taken on the issue before March 2017.
The opposition has been seeking a farm loan waiver since December 2015, Vikhe Patil said.
“We don’t want mere sympathy for farmers but definitive action,” he said, demanding the government bring a one line resolution in the House stating it will grant loan waiver to farmers.
After this, the Speaker adjourned the House for 30 minutes.
Soon after the House reassembled, Vikhe Patil continued to press for the demand, and said this was the appropriate time to announce a debt waiver since more than 8,000 farmers have committed suicide in the last two years.
Supporting the demand, Sena MLAs trooped into the Well of the House and resorted to slogan shouting, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for a second time.
Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said the party is firm on its demand for a loan waiver for farmers in Maharashtra.
“There has been no assurance from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (on farm loan waiver). Hence, we are firm on our demand. If UP farmers can get assurance for loan waiver, why not farmers in Maharashtra?” he said while talking to reporters outside Vidhan Bhavan in south Mumbai.
“Sena MLAs and other leaders will apprise our party chief Uddhav Thackeray about our stand. We will discuss the issue with him and seek further guidance,” Prabhu said.
If the BJP-led government does not announce loan waiver before the state budget on March 18, the proceedings in the assembly and council will remain paralysed, Prabhu said.
The Sena is part of the BJP-led government, but it has joined opposition parties in seeking agricultural debt waiver.