The Budget session of the Maharashtra Legislature begins here today and is expected to be a smooth sailing affair for the Devendra Fadnavis-led government after the BJP averted a face-off with sparring ally Shiv Sena over the Mumbai Mayor’s post. The BJP’s decision not to contest the elections for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), where it won just two seats less than the Sena in the just-concluded Mumbai civic polls, is likely to ease strains in relations between the two saffron parties.
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With the BJP (82 seats) not fielding candidates for the March 8 mayoral poll, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party (84 seats) is set to bag the twin posts in the country’s richest civic body. The session will begin with Governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s address to the joint sitting of both the Houses at 11 AM. The Budget for fiscal 2017-18 will be presented on March 18. This would be the BJP-led government’s third budget presentation since it came to power in October 2014. The session will have 23 working days and conclude on April 7, State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat said.
Discussion on the Governor’s address will take place on March 8 and 9, followed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ reply, he said. Supplementary demands will be taken up on March 15 and Vote on Account on March 22. Discussions on department-wise budgetary demands will begin from March 24. There will be a break for Gudi Padwa from March 26 to 28 and Ram Navmi from April 2 to 4.
On March 21, the Legislature will discuss a motion to congratulate NCP President Sharad Pawar and PWP MLA Ganpatrao Deshmukh, who have completed 50 years in electoral politics. A delegation of Opposition leaders met Governor Vidyasagar Rao yesterday to submit a memorandum of demands including farm debt waiver. Shiv Sena MLC Anil Parab said his party would raise the issue of farm debt waiver during the session. “The Shiv Sena will continue to raise issues that concern the larger good of the people. We stand by our demand for debt waiver and we will keep raising it,” Parab said.