The Ashok Chavan-led Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra will face an acid test during the Monsoon Session of the state Legislature from tomorrow with a combative Opposition all geared up to put it on the mat on a host of issues including spiralling prices and the State’s vexed boundary dispute with Karnataka.

Success of the Bharat Bandh in the State last week has boosted the opposition’s especially BJP’s morale and it plans to take on the government on the floor of the House as well.

The lifting of ban on American author James Laine’s controversial book on Shivaji by the Supreme Court is also expected to figure during the session as all Opposition parties will question the government on its future course of action on the issue.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Eknath Khadse told PTI that the government’s failure to contain prices and the Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court that Belgaum cannot be transferred to Maharashtra solely on the basis of language will figure during the proceedings.

Similarly, the Opposition will demand a discussion on the mess-up over ‘Best Five’ scheme due to which admissions to junior colleges have been delayed, he said.

Mr. Khadse said a debate on agriculture has also been demanded. “The agenda for only one week has been finalised. The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) will meet on Thursday,” he added.

On the opening day tomorrow, both Houses of the Legislature will pay homage to former Speaker Madhukarrao Chaudhary and G. P. Pradhan, noted literateur and MLC who died recently.

The election for Deputy Chairman of Legislative Council is scheduled for Tuesday. NCP is likely to re-nominate Vasant Davkhare for the post.

For the ruling Cong-NCP, Mr. Chavan will have a tough task to manage the floor co-ordination. Relations between the two partners have not been cordial of late with Congress spokesman Hussain Dalwai alleging that NCP instigated the Sangli-Miraj riots last year to win votes.

Senior NCP leader Ratnakar Mahajan wrote a letter to NCP President Sharad Pawar asking him to merge NCP with the parent party Congress.

Another highlight would be to see if the suspension of four MNS MLAs will be revoked during the session. MNS President Raj Thackeray had indicated that he had to take “certain decisions” to ensure that the suspension of his MLAs was revoked.

MNS which has 13 MLAs in the Assembly voted for the Congress-NCP nominees in the Legislative Council polls held in June. Congress downplayed the issue saying that none of its three official candidates needed anybody else’s votes since it had adequate numbers on its own to get them elected.

The party said that it was not concerned if the independent candidate it had supported got votes from other parties.

The ruling combine is tight lipped if the suspension of four of the MNS MLAs would be revoked. They were suspended for four years for beating up Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi for not following their leader Raj Thackeray’s “diktat” of taking oath as MLA in Marathi.

Talking to PTI, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil said two debates are being planned from the ruling and opposition benches on Tuesday and Thursday.

He said Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute and the problems arising out of the “Best Five” issue is likely to be debated during the week extensively.

There are 15 bills to be passed during the session including seven new ones, he said adding that discussions on passage of Supplementary demands are also scheduled.

Mr. Patil urged the Opposition to raise all issues through the forum of discussions instead of disrupting the proceedings during the session and the government will respond positively.

He said MNS group leader Bala Nandgaonkar has written to him about revocation of suspension of his four MLAs. Mr. Patil said the issue is expected to figure in the house. But, the government is yet to take a decision on this matter.

Shortage of fertiliser and seeds for farming, law and order in the backdrop of rape cases of minor girls in Mumbai and incidents of dacoity in other parts of the State will also come up for discussions, he added.