March 1, 2021 11:20:42 pm
The ruling parties and the Opposition sparred over granting an extension to the statutory development boards on the first day of the Budget session after Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said the extension would be given following Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s approval to the 12 names, submitted for MLC nomination through the governor quota.
Pawar was responding to the discussion raised by BJP legislator Sudhir Mungantiwar on the issue in the Legislative Assembly, stating that the boards have not been formed despite an assurance given by Pawar on December 15.
“It has been 72 days since Pawar gave the assurance. The people of the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions want to know when you will fulfil the assurance. The chief minister should say what the government’s stand is on the issue,” said Mungantiwar, adding that the development boards should be declared on Monday itself.
The MVA government and the governor have been at loggerheads over the appointments of the 12 people as members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) through the governor quota. In the first week of November, the Maharashtra cabinet recommended Koshyari for approval of the 12 names but the governor has not taken any decision on it yet.
Replying to Mungantiwar, Pawar said the MVA government is of the view of forming the development boards. “We want to form the boards as soon as possible but the state cabinet had recommended 12 names to be appointed as MLCs through the governor quota. The boards will be declared on the same day or the next day, after the names are declared,” said Pawar.
Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis objected to Pawar’s remarks and accused the government of playing politics. “I thank Pawar for saying what he had in his mind. For 12 MLCs, you have held the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions to ransom. How much politics are you going to play?” asked Fadnavis.
He added that the people of the two regions will not forgive Pawar for the stand and stated that the party will fight to get it.
Congress legislator and state party chief Nana Patole asked Pawar to inform the House whether the backlog of the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions had increased in the past five years, indirectly referring to the period when the BJP was in office. Taking a dig at the governor in an apparent reference to the pending 12 names, Patole said his role is “suspicious today”.
Fadnavis objected to Patole’s comments and asked if a discussion could be held about the governor levelling allegations against him.
Pawar said the appointments to boards will be made soon. “The share of Vidarbha and Marathwada will be fully allocated without deducting any amount. The funds will be given to the regions as per the allocation formula assuming the existence of the boards,” he added.
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