Mumbai (The Hindu): Soft opposition, confused allies helped BJP govt sail through Assembly’s winter session.If there are any takeaways from the recently-concluded winter session of the state legislature, one would be that the alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the other five parties including Shiv Sena is merely on paper. In reality, it is the BJP which is running the show singlehandedly. Call it the political compulsion of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena or the party’s greed for power, but BJP has managed to keep the ‘tiger’ caged.
At a party function a few days prior to the winter session, Mr Thackeray had asked his representatives in the legislature to get aggressive on the farmers’ issue, drought and issues that matter to people of this state. Not once during the 13-day session at Nagpur did the Sena members managed to follow the orders of their supreme leader.
Apart from the issue of separate statehood for Vidarbha, which was ignited after comments by the State’s Advocate General supporting it, a majority of Sena leaders did not even engage in debates. Even then, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ensured that the Sena loses the plot, by terming it the Advocate General’s personal opinion.
“We should have done much more on the farmers’ issue as Uddhavji is travelling all over the State. It is unfortunate that most of our MLAs cannot look beyond their constituencies,” said a Sena MLA from outside Mumbai. He added that at a time when the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were demanding loan waivers, the Sena chose to remain silent.
“We should have made similar demands by maintaining differences with the Opposition. It could have built pressure on the BJP,” he said. The performance of the party’s ministers was equally unflattering. No important bills were presented, nor were any announcements made by five of their cabinet ministers.
Rather, the Sena’s senior-most minister Subhash Desai’s Industry Department was caught napping after Dhananjay Munde of the NCP presented an RTI reply in the House that showed none of the deals with foreign industries have been inked on paper.
While the BJP kept alliance partners on their toes with the promises of a cabinet expansion, it turned out to be yet another hoax. Frustrated by the BJP’s treatment, an alliance leader was seen discussing possibilities of ‘other options’ with many journalists.
Even though the Congress and NCP started the winter session on an aggressive note, they failed to continue the momentum in the second week.
The Opposition’s strong attack on five cabinet ministers over corruption charges proved futile after they decided to boycott the government’s reply on charges.
Not once during the session did Sena members follow Uddhav’s orders
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