Mumbai (The Hindu): The BJP and the Shiv Sena could have it easy in the Assembly’s monsoon session beginning on Monday, thanks to an unexpected rift between Opposition parties Congress and NCP.
The cause for this face-off is turning out to be a letter from Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Sharad Ranpise, party group leader in the Legislative Council, urging Council chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar to give preference to a resolution discussing former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s contribution over the one to celebrate NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s 50 years as a Parliamentarian.
The NCP claimed the Congress did not even consider it before sending the letter, at a time when the Opposition has to be united. The party’s State unit chief Sunil Tatkare said, “We’ve always maintained that the Opposition must work in unison and have taken initiative to make this possible, but if [the Congress] is going to take decisions without taking us into confidence, then maybe they don’t need our help and co-operation. If the Congress has an independent position against the government, we can have one as well.” Claiming innocence, Mr. Vikhe-Patil said, “Maybe one should ask the NCP if it trusts us. I don’t know why the NCP has a separate programme. They may have different issues to raise. It’s up to them to answer why they did not attend the Opposition meeting.”
The differences led to the first instance of the Congress and NCP not holding a joint meeting on the eve of a legislative session. Leaders from both parties raised the same issues separately, such as the government’s failure to implement the farm loan waiver scheme, poor administration of Mumbai University, recent housing and SRA scheme scandals and several issues in the State Home Department run by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Opposition also boycotted the CM’s traditional tea party on the eve of the monsoon session.
“I have no doubt these issues will be raised during the session, but it remains to be seen if floor management will be possible.” Mr. Vikhe-Patil said. “We were never spoilsports and will never be,” Mr. Tatkare said.
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