The two days monsoon session of Maharashtra began and ended; this was the shortest ever parliamentary session. Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has decided to curtail the monsoon session of the state legislature to two days (July 5-6) in the backdrop of the Delta variant found in Mumbai and few other districts.
Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders were geared up and well prepared to counter BJP. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray maintained his demure. Ajit Pawar to Jayant Patil all was on guard, and this time they were not in a mood to take any undue attacks or blames from the opposition. Bharatiya Janata Party Leader of the Opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis hit out at the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, accusing it of purposely limiting the session with the aim to oppress the Opposition’s voice on several issues. BJP believes that the Thackeray government had set a dubious record in respect to the conduct of sessions of the State Legislature.
Meanwhile, during the session Fadnavis moved an adjournment notice, asking for a debate on the functioning of the Maharashtra Public Service Commission in the wake of the suicide of Pune-based MPSC aspirant Swapnil Lonkar. The 24-year-old Maharashtra government job aspirant allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his house in Pune’s Hadapsar area on June 30, police earlier said. He left behind a suicide note in which he termed the MPSC exams as a “mayajaal” and appealed not to get into it. In the House, Mungantiwar claimed 430 MPSC candidates have threatened self-immolation.
However, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said the MPSC issue was discussed in detail and the government took it very seriously. The vacant posts will be filled by July 31, 2021. The MPSC exam was held in 2019 in which Swapnil Lonkar appeared and cleared in July 2020. He was among the 3,671 eligible candidates who cleared the exam for 1,200 posts. On September 9, 2020, the Supreme Court ordered an interim stay on the SEBC quota, after which the interview process was stopped by the MPSC, which is an autonomous body.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis alleged that the ruling parties used the incident to reduce the number of Opposition legislators in the assembly. On Day 1 of the Maharashtra assembly’s monsoon session on Monday, 12 legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were suspended for a year. Ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghahi (MVA) said disciplinary action was taken over their misconduct and use of abusive language used against presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav.
The suspended legislators are: Ashish Shelar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkalkar, Yogesh Sagar, Parag Alavani, Sanjay Kute, Harish Pimple, Ram Satpute, Jaykumar Gore, Bunty Bangadiya, Abhimanyu Pawar and Narayan Kuche.
State parliamentary affairs minister Anil Parab moved the proposal which was passed through a voice vote by the ruling parties. The argument between the ruling and Opposition benches started over a resolution passed to seek empirical data from the Centre for a political reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local body elections.
Food and civil supplies minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis government failed to acquire the data, while the latter said the resolution is unlikely to give desired results. The resolution was passed in chaos following which a few BJP legislators reached up to the chair of the Speaker and tried to snatch the mic and the mace while Jadhav was presiding over the proceedings.
Later, the BJP MLAs apparently used foul language against Jadhav in the deputy speaker’s cabin. Jadhav said, “The BJP legislators tried to corner me and used abusive language in the cabin. I requested Devendra Fadnavis, who was also present in the cabin, to ask his legislators to calm down but he did not help.”
Fadnavis said, “The brawl started only after Shiv Sena legislators reached the cabin. I even apologised to Jadhav for their misconduct. Despite that, the ruling parties passed the resolution to reduce the number of Opposition MLAs.”
The Maharashtra Government also presented supplementary demands worth Rs 23,149.75 crore amid a mismatch between the revenue and expenditure due to the coronavirus induced lockdown and economic downturn. Of the Rs 23,149.75 crore, the government has earmarked Rs 4,960 crore towards repayment of loan taken under UDAY scheme for power distribution reforms in addition to Rs 856 crore for energy department, Rs 3,644 crore for public health, Rs 3,040 crore for Public Work, Rs 3,000 crore for water supply and cleanliness, Rs 1,843 crore for social justice and Rs 1,200 crore to Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. In addition, the government has allocated Rs 762 crore cooperation, marketing and textile, Rs 628 crore medical education, Rs 628 crore for woman and child welfare, Rs 397 crore for home, Rs 325 crore for urban development and Rs 301 crore for agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy development and fishing.
Since the MVA government took over in November 2019, it had tabled supplementary demands worth Rs 16,120 crore in December 2019, Rs 24,273 crore in February 2020, Rs 29,084 crore in September 2020, Rs 21,992 crore in December 2020 and Rs 21,076.32 crore in March 2021. Cumulatively, the state government has presented supplementary demands of Rs 1,35,695.07 crore.
There was a 90 per cent presence for the assembly from both ruling and opposition parties, and the media was there in huge numbers. The sessions were hustle-bustle, somewhat that ended today.
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