Mumbai: After an interesting 26 days of budget session, the state government finally succeeded in clearing the budget in both legislative Houses smoothly. Overcoming its fear of the Opposition consolidating along with ally Shiv Sena on the farmers’ loan waver issue, the BJP managed to take Sena on board to clear the 2017-18 pink book while the Opposition parties had boycotted the House. On Friday, finance minister Sudhir Mungantivar moved the budget for passage in the Assembly.
Sena MLA Vijay Auti, in the last week was furious after the government turned down budget discussion in haste. But Friday’s meeting between Sena ministers and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in the morning reassured the ruling party of no hurdle. Opposition benches were empty for the second consecutive week over protests against suspending 19 MLAs for ruckus.
As soon as the budget was cleared, senior ministers from the government including the CM, rushed to the council where the Opposition enjoys majority. The Opposition had already submitted budget amendments in loan waiver to farmers. Its passing would have caused a huge embarrassment to the government. In order to avoid the same, the government rested its stand on revoking MLAs suspension. The CM had indicated this decision on Saturday. This formula of compromise worked in the Council as Opposition leader Dhananjay Munde and Congress group leader Sharad Ranpise withdrew their amendments to the budget speech.
Mr Mungantiwar assured of introducing a scheme for farmers’ relief to placate the demand of loan waiver. Ruling partner Shiv Sena, too, had threatened of not letting the budget get cleared until government wrote off farmers’ debt. However, clearing the deck, even Sena minister Ramdas Kadam said that his party is satisfied with Mr Fadanvis’s assurance on the issue.