In a day of high drama, the Maharashtra politics on Thursday witnessed a cross connections as Congress and Shiv Sena joined hands to take on BJP-NCP on the appointment of the new chairman of the Legislative Council.
The new realignment saw the NCP eliciting assurance from the BJP to get its candidate Ramraje Nimbalkar elected as the state Council Chairman. In return, the BJP sought NCP’s support for appointment of senior leader Pandurang Phundkar as Deputy Chairman in the Council.
On the other hand, to embarrass the BJP, ally Shiv Sena fielded Neelam Gorhe (MLC) and another independent candidate Shrikant Deshpande in the contest for the council chairman. The Congress, on the other hand, tried to make things difficult for the NCP by fielding its candidate Sharad Ranpise.
The appointment of council chairman will depend on number game in the house of 78 MLCs. The NCP with 28 MLCs has clear edge. The BJP which has 12 MLCs has reassured NCP if required it would not only lend moral support but also participate in voting.
The voting for the chairman’s election will be held tomorrow.
Seeing no hope for its candidate in the Council, which has NCP in majority, the Congress has decided to withdraw from the race tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, strains in the ruling alliance in Maharashtra came to the fore again, with Shiv Sena attacking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the law and order and taking critical view of the state budget.
Targetting Fadnavis, who also holds Home portfolio, without naming him, Sena MLC Anil Parab wondered how dance bars are still functioning in Mumbai despite the ban imposed on by them by the previous Congress-NCP government.
“If a police van is parked outside (the bars) then it indicates that they are on. Dance bars are functioning with co-operation of police,” he said.
A war of words also ensued between the ruling partners BJP and Shiv Sena after a leader of Uddhav Thackeray-led party alleged “wrongdoing” in a project to install LED lights in 100 cities, including Mumbai, where it controls the civic body.
An article written by Sena spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut in the party’s daily mouthpiece Saamana, objected to the BJP-backed plan to install LED lights in the city.
The Sena wants the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to replace the new white LED lights at Marine Drive with yellow sodium vapour lamps.
Raut said that Union Minister Piyush Goyal is instrumental in “the business of installing LED lights in the country at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore”. “If a probe is ordered, at least two (BJP) ministers will lose the beacons on their vehicles,” Raut wrote.
Reacting strongly to Raut’s allegations, BJP Maharashtra state unit president Raosaheb Danve said, “We don’t take these charges seriously. This is because it is not just today, but ever since the day the government came to power, they (Sena) have made such allegations against us”.
Fadnavis also sharply replied to Sena’s allegation. “ I would suggest people do some home work before making baseless allegations. The LED lights are not only brighter and long lasting but also financially cheaper. We can save Rs 73 crore alone in Mumbai,” said Fadnavis.
(With inputs from PTI)