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February 27, 2023 01:22 pm | Updated 03:24 pm IST – Mumbai
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis address a press conference on the eve of the Budget session of the Maharashtra Assembly, in Mumbai on February 26, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI
The ongoing high decibel political and legal battle between rival Shiv Sena groups is set to resonate in the Maharashtra legislature as its Budget session began on February 27.
The Opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and the Congress boycotted the tea party hosted by the government on the eve of the Budget session on Feb. 26.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde took a dig at the Opposition for boycotting the customary tea party and said it was good those having ties with terrorist Dawood Ibrahim did not turn up for it.
He was apparently referring to former State Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik, who is currently in jail following his arrest last year in a money-laundering case linked to the activities of Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
The Budget session commenced with newly-appointed Governor Ramesh Bais making his first address to the joint sitting of the State legislature.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the Finance and Planning portfolio, will present the first Budget of the Shinde-led Government in the Assembly on March 9.
The session will end on March 25.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shindeinformed the State legislative Assembly that a delegation with meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek classical language status for Marathi.
Mr. Shinde gave the assurance in the House on the first day of the Budget session.
“A delegation of legislators will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a request seeking classical language status for Marathi. Along with officials, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and I will meet the prime minister demanding action over it,” the Chief Minister said.
NCP legislator Chhagan Bhujbal had raised the issue in the Assembly asking details about the long pending demand to accord classical language status to Marathi.
On the first day of the Maharashtra legislature’s Budget session, Opposition members demanded a fair price to farmers for foodgrains, resolution of the border dispute with Karnataka and respect for historical figures.
Legislators of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Congress, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction and other parties gathered at the Vidhan Bhawan steps and raised slogans to put forth their demands.
“The State Government should ensure that historical figures are respected in the State. The government needs to come up with plans for ensuring fair prices for foodgrains as well as resolving the pending Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue,” said a legislator.
The Opposition members also called the ruling Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party dispensation in the State as the “ED” government.
A controversy had erupted in November 2022 when the then Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an ‘icon of olden times’ and personalities like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar to Nitin Gadkari were the modern icons of the State.
The border issue between Maharashtra and Karnataka dates back to 1957 after the reorganisation of States on linguistic lines. Maharashtra had laid claim to Karnataka’s Belagavi district, which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, as it has a sizeable Marathi-speaking population.
It also laid claim to 814 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of the southern state. Karnataka, however, considers the demarcation done on linguistic lines as per the States Reorganisation Act and the 1967 Mahajan Commission Report as final.
Maharashtra Government will organise 600 job fairs in the financial year 2022-23, Governor Ramesh Bais informed the State legislature.
“Memoranda of Understanding were signed with 45 companies to create 1.25 lakh jobs. Twenty four project proposals have been approved which amount to an investment of ₹87,774 crore, creating 61,000 jobs,” Mr. Bais said in his address.
The State Government signed MOUs with 19 companies for an investment of ₹1.37 lakh crore at the World Economic Forum meet in Davos last month, he said.
“My Government has successfully organized training for 4.85 lakh youth and 2.81 lakh farmers under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana,” the Governor said.
The State Government has doubled the pension of freedom fighters and their spouses, from ₹10,000 to ₹20,000 per month, he said.
Earlier, as he reached Vidhan Bhavan to deliver his speech, the Governor was welcomed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar, Deputy Chairperson of Legislative Council Dr Neelam Gorhe, Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Chandrakant Patil.
The Governor was also given a ceremonial Guard of Honour.
Nationalist Congress Party MLA Saroj Babulal Ahire arrives with her newborn baby to attend the first day of the Winter Session of the Maharashtra Assembly, at the State Assembly, in Nagpur. File | Photo Credit: ANI
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Saroj Ahire caught people’s attention on February 27 when she arrived on the first day of the Maharashtra legislature’s Budget session in Mumbai carrying her four-month-old son.
Ms. Ahire had also carried the baby with her during the Winter session of the legislature held in December last year in Nagpur.
“There is a Hirkani unit in the Vidhan Bhawan which can be used by women to feed their babies. The provision is for all working women,” a Vidhan Bhawan official said.
Ms. Ahire, however, complained of dust in one of the Hirkani units in the Vidhan Bhawan.
“I expect officials to clean these rooms,” she told reporters in the legislature complex.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Jaykumar Gore, who was injured in a car accident in December 2022, arrived to attend the Budget session using a walker.
In the past, the then State Finance Minister Jayant Patil had presented the Budget while sitting in a wheelchair in the House.
The Shiv Sena led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has issued a whip to “all” its legislators to remain present full-time during the Budget session of the Maharashtra legislature which began on February 27, in an apparent move to corner the faction headed by former CM Uddhav Thackeray.
The Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government collapsed in June 2022 after Shinde and 39 other MLAs revolted against the party leadership.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) recently allotted the ‘Shiv Sena’ name and the ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol to the Shinde-led bloc.
Amid the Shiv Sena row, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar on Feb. 23 said he has not got representation from any group claiming to be a separate party in the Lower House.
The Speaker told PTI that there is only one Shiv Sena with 55 MLAs which is led by Shinde and legislator Bharat Gogawale has been recognised as its chief whip.
Mr. Narvekar has approved the appointment of Shinde as the legislature party leader.
Mr. Gogawale on Feb. 26 evening said, “We have issued a whip to all MLAs of the Shiv Sena asking them to remain present full-time during the Budget session. If any legislator does not follow it, he/she will face action.”
Notably, during a hearing in the Supreme Court (SC) last week over the Uddhav Thackeray faction’s plea challenging the decision of the Election Commission recognising the Shinde-led bloc as the real Shiv Sena, senior advocate N.K. Kaul, appearing for the Shinde bloc, assured the SC Bench it will not take steps like issuing whip or initiation of disqualification proceedings against lawmakers — MLAs, MLCs and MPs — of the Thackeray faction for the time being.
The assurance came after senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, also appearing for Mr. Thackeray, had raised apprehension, saying “Tomorrow, if they issue a whip or a letter and if we do not do it then we will be disqualified. Now they are the party. I have no protection. Your lordships should give us the status quo at least.” This had led the SC Bench to ask, “If we take this [petition for hearing] after two weeks, are you in the process of issuing a whip or disqualifying them.” “No, no,” responded Mr. Kaul. When asked about it, Mr. Gogawale said, “The relief is only for two weeks. Asking legislators to attend the session full-time is not an action against them. We will come to know who attends and who does not.”
Maharashtra / politics
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