State opposition submits 7-page letter to CM, points at rowdy ruling MLAs; Shinde says will probe MLAS, claims money allocations by MVA unjustified
Devendra Fadnavis. File Pic
WHILE the opposition expressed determination to take on the state government and boycotted the customary high tea hosted by the chief minister on the eve of the Legislative session that begins on Wednesday, the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis questioned the very unity of the three parties that ruled the state till June.
The opposition has submitted a seven-page letter to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde mentioning the issues that led to the boycott. Addressing a joint press conference, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said that the current government was not approved by the law as the Supreme Court has not decided on the power struggle yet. He also demanded action against the MLAs of Shinde faction for ‘criminal’ acts.
Pawar claimed the government, which expanded the Cabinet and distributed portfolios six weeks after assuming power, was not serious about the rain-hit farmers and maintaining law and order. He assured that the united opposition will raise important issues and seek answers. He also observed that since most of the session’s time had been spent discussing frivolous things, the opposition will try to change the trend.
He slammed the Shinde MLAs for being power drunk and vowed to question the government over rowdy behaviour. He said one of the MLAs—Hingoli MLA Santosh Bangar—was reported for assaulting a mid-day meal manager and threatening the rival workers. “Is this arrogance because you are in power? We will not tolerate it,” he said, asking the CM to take action against the MLAs.
Apart from Bangar, Mumbai’s Magathane MLA Prakash Surve has also been reported for instigating party workers against the rival faction.
He said the government will be questioned over the inclusion of tainted ministers and scrapping of the decisions that the previous MVA government had taken in the interest of the people.
‘Will probe MLAs’
Speaking on the allegation against MLAs, CM Shinde said, “We don’t support their behaviour. Law is equal for all. The inquiry will be done and action will be taken.”
However, he reminded Pawar, who accused the Shinde MLAs of misusing power, “Who in the previous government arrested Sena workers, registered cases and externed them to put pressure on them to join the party (NCP)? I can tell you everything if needed.”
Speaking on scrapping of decisions taken by the erstwhile MVA, the CM said, “We haven’t scrapped them. We are reviewing them because the money allocated for them is not justified.”
Deputy CM and Finance Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the ‘unjustified’ allocation done by the previous government will impact the state’s budget and hence the decisions were being reviewed.
“Instead of worrying about the status of the government, the opposition should worry about their unity. The Congress has already objected to the selection of opposition leader in the upper house,” said Fadnavis.
According to Fadnavis, the opposition’s letter was a fine example of ‘Ghajini ailment’ (short-term memory loss). “Four pages are about the demands that we have been demanding when we were in the opposition. They are affected by a Ghajini ailment. But it is good that the opposition leader expects us to do what his government couldn’t do. We assure him that we fulfil their demands.”
Power sharing formula
Fadnavis came out with an explanation over the charge that the BJP had got 80 per cent share in the portfolio allocation. Presenting the department-wise budgetary allocation for the partners, he said, “The BJP has Rs 3.17 lakh crore (60 per cent) while the Sena has Rs 1.97 lakh crore (40 per cent). In the previous government headed by Uddhav Thackeray, the Sena had a mere 12.88 per cent allocation.”
Vande Mataram row
Shinde and Fadnavis said the opposition to cultural affairs minister Sudhir Mungantiwar’s suggestion that government employees begin telephonic conversations with ‘Vande Mataram’ instead of ‘hello’ was out of hate for the historic slogan. “It shows their mentality. Why are they opposing it? It is not a compulsion, but a suggestion,” said Fadnavis. Shinde said, “The martyrs have walked to the gallows chanting ‘Vande Mataram’. Why are some people allergic to it?”
Meanwhile, the Cabinet decided on Tuesday to inaugurate the Lata Mangeshkar Music Academy on September 28, the late singer’s birth anniversary.
On the occasion of the 75th year of independence, all citizens aged 75 and above will be allowed to travel free of cost on state transport buses.
The state will also insure Govindas or dahi handi players for R10 lakh each, said Shinde.