Despite gathering farmers in strength and leading them to protest near the Vidhan Bhavan, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Opposition in Maharashtra failed to score points over a complacent ruling Congress alliance on the first day of the winter session of the State Assembly on Tuesday.
Eknath Khadse, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly wanted question hour to be suspended to discuss the disastrous impact of the cyclone Phyan. He wanted to move an adjournment motion to this effect which was rejected by Speaker Dilip Walse Patil.
While the Opposition tried to make Phyan an issue, and managed to adjourn the House twice, it was Revenue Minister Narayan Rane who pointed out that it was slated for discussion later in the day in any case. The Opposition had one more trump card to embarrass the government and that was the Pradhan report on the November 26 terror strike.
Mr. Khadse moved a breach of privilege motion against the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, the Home Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) for the leak of the report to the press. While Mr. Khadse was supposed to present the report in the House, that did not happen. He said the government should have tabled the report when it was submitted by Mr. Ram Pradhan earlier this year.
The leak of the report was in contempt of the House and violative of the Legislative privilege. The government should clarify the matter, he demanded. A breach of privilege motion was also moved in the Legislative Council.
Mr. Desai and Mr. Nandgaonkar moved a breach of privilege motion in the Assembly and Mr. Desai held Mr. Pradhan responsible for the leak of his report. Referring to Phyan, Mr. Khadse said this was the first major incident since the new government took over and it was imperative to discuss the government’s response to the cyclone which had wreaked havoc on the coast, destroying mango and coconut orchards.
At Rs. 10,000 per acre, the compensation offered by the government was too meagre for horticulturists, he said. Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) and Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS) demanded a discussion on the Phyan-affected.
The Shiv Sena members led by Ravindra Waikar stalled proceedings with slogan-shouting and the Assembly was adjourned twice. Later the House discussed the inadequate compensation for the cyclone affected and Mr. Khadse demanded a package of Rs. 1000 crore for the affected farmers.