In a political master stroke, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis used the budget session to deliver some of the critical poll promises which were made during the 2014 assembly elections.
Fadnavis, on Friday, described the outcome of the month long budget session in Maharashtra as –promises made were kept. He said, “My government has emerged much stronger facing both bouquets and brickbats in the budget session. At the end I can say, we have firmed our feet.”
The budget session, which was a litmus test of his leadership, saw the chief minister striking a political master stroke by advancing all the poll promises by by BJP during assembly elections 2014 into reality.
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Albeit, when it comes to actual execution, there could be many hurdles which he is not denying. But maintained, “I am ready to face the challenges.”
Speaking to Indian Express he said, “To me the budget session meant fulfilling the promises made to the people for the larger welfare of state. Whether it was extending Rs 10,000 crore package to the farmers, abolition of local bodies tax or scrapping the toll tax, policy reforms in critical sectors like water resources, home and agriculture was to strike a balance between the rural and urban Maharashtra.”
However, in a candid admission, he lamented that, “ The ambitious Right to Service Act could not be placed in this session.” Arguing, “ The bill needs to be further fine tuned incorporating 160 services.”
A visible relived chief minister said, “ Despite many challenges in wake of drought, hailstorm our approach to the problems was extremely positive.” The unquestioned support form the Narendra Modi government made things easier when it came to pushing the higher financial package for farmers, he added. Arguing, “ Apart from Rs 4,200 crore package already disbursed, power and water relief, loan waiver together works out to rs 10,000 crore.” In addition today, we have given Rs 2,000 crore package to sugar mills to match the fair renumerative price (FRP) of Rs 2100 per metric tonne of sugar cane.
The decontrol of mollases would bring a quantum jump in financial status of the farmers. And creation of buffer stock of 50 lakh metric tonnes of sugar would work to the advantage of both sugar mills and cane cultivators, he added.
As curtains came down in state assembly, the chief minister was accorded a thumping welcome from both ruling parties and opposition members signaling his acceptability in the assemble as the leader of the House. Although Congress-NCP had a long list of lapses on part of government in budget session, they acknowledged it was a smooth sail for the BJP lead government which was frequently facing the in-house challenges from alliance partner Shiv Sena.
The leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said, “ There were some major decisions where the government appeared on back foot. On farmers a lot more needed to be done. Secondly, on beef ban chief minister had to explain the stand of the government that it was confined to only cow and cattles. The decision on Local Body Tax is just jugglery as it would come into being from August 1.”
According to Dhanajay Munde, opposition leader in council, “ The package for sugar sector is too little too late. They should have taken the decision a few months ago. Not when several sugar mills have stopped operations.”
Notwithstanding, oppositions criticism what worked to the advantage of Fadnavis was the sharp differences within the Congress-NCP throughout the session which reflected in their poor coordination.
And not surprisingly, despite odds within his own cabinet and BJP-Sena alliance, he managed to overpower the Congress-NCP unitedly.
Asked to comment on the political outcome of the budget, Fadnavis said, “ The budget has shown we have consolidated our feet in government and legislative business.”