With the BJP ruling out any confrontation with the Shiv Sena for positions of power in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the state budget session seems set to go smooth for the treasury benches. After the BJP’s move, the Congress and the NCP will not be able to use the rift between the ruling allies to corner Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and instead of political issues, the session is likely to focus on the economic problems facing Maharashtra. The budget session will begin from Monday and conclude on April 7. The state budget will be presented on March 18. A highly placed source in the finance ministry said, “Taking Maharashtra to a double-digit growth figure in the shadow of the past four years’ drought, coupled with tapping private-public partnership to take mega-projects to their logical end, is the real concern for the state government, which is reeling under a debt of Rs 3.50 lakh crore.”
Fadnavis’s position in this session is stronger than ever before, having led the party to spectacular wins in local body polls across the state. With the Sena tamed after the BMC overture, the CM faces no serious opposition within or outside the party.
A BJP functionary said, “The party’s electoral success under Fadnavis has consolidated his position both in the government and party. The Budget Session will see greater coordination among BJP members.”
The Sena, which had constantly criticised its alliance partner over the past months, is not left with much to complain about. “Our battle with the BJP was for the BMC. They have left all key posts in our favour. Why should we complain? Any attempt to make common cause with Congress-NCP now would send a poor signal to the public.
Therefore, the Sena has decided not to indulge in pin-pricks against Fadnavis. We will leave it to our elected members to raise issues of public concern through debates.”
The Opposition too is casting about for issues to raise against the government, after demonetisation and the non-waiving of crop loans proved ineffective during the elections. The factionalism within the parties had added to their problems, with successive sessions witnessing lack of floor coordination between the two Opposition parties.