The state Budget Session beginning March 6 is unlikely to present any challenge to the stability of the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, as leaders from both the Congress and the NCP ruled out the possibility of bringing in a no-confidence motion. The state budget will be presented on March 18. The Session will conclude on April 7.
An opposition floor manager told The Indian Express, “There is no question of mooting a no-confidence motion as arithmetic is not in our favour. Moreover, the Congress and the NCP cannot explain a no-confidence against a party which got a thumping majority in polls to 10 municipal corporations, 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samiti polls recently.”
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According to a former parliamentary affairs minister of Congress, “A no-confidence motion against any government is perceived as a serious move. It has to be adequately backed with both reason and arithmetic. On both these counts, the Congress, the NCP and the Sena don’t have any substance to work against the Fadnavis government.”
In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, the BJP has 123 seats, the Shiv Sena 63, the Congress 42, the NCP 41, the MNS 1 and others have 20 seats.
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane said, “Where are the numbers to bring in a no-confidence against the BJP government? Unless the Shiv Sena supports the motion, the numbers don’t add up. To support the no-confidence motion, the Sena will have to withdraw support from the government, which will never happen.”
An NCP leader echoes the view. “All this public posturing of a Sena-Congress alliance or the threat of a no-confidence are part of Uddhav Thackeray’s strategy to put pressure on the BJP to agree to his demand of a Shiv Sena mayor in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Anyway, the larger question for us is how will destablising the Fadnavis government help us? Also, why should we play into the Sena’s hand, which is enjoying the roles of both the Opposition and the government?”
Meanwhile, on Monday, at the Business Advisory Committee meeting held to evolve the budget agenda, it was decided to present the budget on March 18.
Minister for parliamentary affairs Girish Bapat, while responding to the question on whether any party had expressed intentions to moot a no-confidence motion, said, “ Not at all. On the contrary, the opposition leader representing the Congress and the NCP gave their consent to the agenda.”
From the Sena, only minister of state Vijay Shivtare was present. The Shiv Sena ministers and leaders appear to have taken a stand against participating in any work till the BMC mayor elections in the first week of March.
The highlight of the budget session will be the state government’s decision to adopt a resolution to mark 50 years since the entry into politics by late Congress prime minister Indira Gandhi, NCP president Sharad Pawar and Peasants and Workers Party leader Ganpatrao Deshmukh. All parties have agreed to the resolution, which will be followed by discussions in both the state Assembly and Council on March 21.