As deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar prepares to present his third budget during the budget session of the state legislature, which will begin from Monday, the opposition parties are sharpening their knives to take on the Congress- NCP led state government on issues such as drought in the state, rising crimes against women and the deteriorating law and order situation.
There are chances that Pawar, whose chief ministerial ambitions are no secret, may present a “dream budget” on March 20, before the state assembly polls due next year.
Along with the principal opposition—the BJP and the Shiv Sena, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) whose chief Raj Thackeray has clashed openly with Pawar, will also be under pressure to take on the state government during the session. A section of the Congress- NCP is also likely to attack the state government on drought relief works.
The murder of three sisters at Bhandara and the brutal killings of three Dalit youth at Sonai in Ahmednagar are also expected to be raised in the legislature.
While opposition leaders believe that the divisions between the ruling Congress and the NCP will manifest itself when the government is under attack on crucial issues, the ruling party leaders claim that the opposition is a divided house and is hence too weak to dent the defences of the government.
“This is the budget session, so we will raise issues of corruption in various departments,” said leader of the opposition in the state legislative assembly Eknath Khadse, adding that they would also give priority to the drought.
Khadse added that the deteriorating law and order situation, the rising crimes against women and Dalits, alleged irregularities in irrigation projects, the Adarsh scam, the vacancies on the state women’s commission and in the state government, would also figure on the opposition’s radar. The BJP is also likely to take on the state government on the SIT probe into the irrigation scam being diluted and the water shortage in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena group leader in the state assembly Subhash Desai said they would give priority to the pending demands regarding Mumbai, the fissures between the Congress and NCP in the state government, alleged scams, the false promises regarding doing away with load shedding in the state and the drought. “The reality is that the opposition parties are weak,” said NCP legislator from Satara district, Shashikant Shinde, adding that while the opposition took up issues initially, the aggression petered out later. He also said that the opposition was beset with divisions.