Government, opposition set for clash in Maharashtra legislature

Mumbai, March 8 (IANS) Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis offered an olive branch to the opposition for smooth conduct of the legislature’s budget session starting on Wednesday, but the opposition is readying itself for a clash with the government.

Setting a conciliatory tone, Speaker Haribhau Bagade hosted an all-party meeting to discuss and take effective decisions for the improvement of the common man on the eve of the session where Fadnavis appealed for the cooperation of all parties for the smooth running of both the houses.

Later he announced plans to introduce various bills including one on the controversial issue of re-starting the dance bars in Maharashtra following the recent Supreme Court rulings.

Unimpressed by the government’s moves, the main Opposition parties Congress and Nationalist Congress Party prepared for a showdown over a variety of issues including the persistent drought conditions, farmers’ suicides and the proposed new bill on the dance bars in the state, and made their intentions clear by boycotting the customary session-eve tea party hosted by Fadnavis.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (Congress) labelled the recent tour of all cabinet ministers including Fadnavis to drought-hit areas as “knee-jerk” reaction to a similar initiative by the opposition leaders.

Leader of Opposition in Council Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said no government in recent years had excelled in “juggling words” as the present Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance.

Vikhe-Patil said in 2016, 224 farmers have committed suicide but no provision has been made to give them aid and fodder for their animals.

He also dared the government to introduce the law banning dance bars before March 15 (the Supreme Court deadline) which the opposition would support, but if not then, he alleged it would be clear they are in a secret pact with the dance bar owners.

The Supreme Court last week directed the state government to grant licenses to hoteliers for the dance bars within 10 days after the complied with modified guidelines on the issue.

Munde also demanded a white paper on the actual investments received at last month’s ‘Make In India Week’ here and termed it as ‘Fake In India’ event.

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