The Opposition parties are drawing up strategies to use the debate on crop loan waiver in the ongoing budget session to create a wedge between the Shiv Sena and BJP. Sensing that the Shiv Sena has been aggressive in seeking crop loan waiver for farmers, the Congress and NCP are mooting a proposal to expose the saffron divide. Leader of Opposition in the State Legislature Council Dhananjay Munde will moot a proposal on crop loan waiver followed by voting, sources said.
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A highly placed source in the NCP told The Indian Express, “We will insist on a debate on crop loan waiver followed by voting. We want to see what stand the Shiv Sena, which is an alliance partner in the government, takes on the farmers’ issue in the council.”
The Opposition is quick to point out that Shiv Sena ministers and leaders have been in the forefront when it comes to attacking the BJP government for not waiving the crop loan of farmers in Maharashtra.
In the council which has 78 seats, the Congress (20) and NCP (23) are in majority compared to the Shiv Sena (9) and BJP (17). There are six independents and three seats representing different groups.
Although voting in the Upper House where members are indirectly elected is not seen as a comment on the government, the Congress and NCP appears set to put the Shiv Sena on the mat on the critical issue related to farmers. However, Congress and NCP leaders have not taken any concrete decision on their strategy to be adopted in the State Legislature Assembly, reckoning that the BJP with 122 seats in the 288-seat House is the single largest party.
A senior Shiv Sena minister on condition of anonymity told The Indian Express, “The Congress and NCP’s ploy to create a rift between the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena will not work in the budget session. The Shiv Sena has already urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to consider its demand for crop loan waiver. Fadnavis has already given assurance to look into the matter.”
A Shiv Sena political manager said, “Whether it is the state assembly or council, we will speak on the agriculture crisis. But we are not going to vote against the Fadnavis government.”
A Sena minister said, “The chief minister has planned to lead a delegation to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek more financial aid for farmers.”