Maharashtra winter session from Monday: Maratha-quota reservation, drought to dominate
(Sourced from PTI)
The State Backward Class Commission report on Maratha reservations and the drought in 151 talukas are expected to dominate the two-week-long winter session of the Maharashtra Legislature, set to begin on November 19 (upcoming Monday). The winter session, being held in Mumbai (the state capital) after 57 years, will have only eight working days and will end on November 30.
A decision on whether proceedings of the House would be held on Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 23 will be decided later. The State Backward Class Commission submitted its 200-page report on Maratha reservations on Thursday and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stated later in the day that all statutory formalities in connection with it would be completed in 15 days.
In August, during the peak of the Maratha-quota protests, Fadnavis had said that once the report of the commission was submitted, a special session of the state legislature would be convened within a month to pass a "law or resolution" regarding granting reservations to the community. Yesterday, in Akola, Fadnavis said his government has already declared it'd expedite the Maratha reservation issue by November-end.
Nearly half a dozen MLAs had announced their resignations from the Legislature during the peak of Maratha reservation stir. However it was only Shiv Sena's Harshvardhan Jadhav, who had submitted the same to Speaker Haribhau Bagade. Disgruntled BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh also quit the House.
The other important issue- the prevailing drought in several parts of Maharashtra is also expected to be at the center of acrimonious debates between the government and the Opposition in the Assembly and Legislative Council. The Opposition has already been in attack mode on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement, made during a rally in Shirdi, that 16,000 villages in the state were now drought-free.
The Opposition has claimed findings of the Groundwater Survey and Development Authority (GSDA), on the contrary, show that groundwater levels have depleted by over 1m in 13,984 villages in 252 out of the 353 tehsils in Maharashtra. Of the 13,984 villages, groundwater levels have gone down by more than 3m in 3,342 villages, by 2-3m in 3,430 villages and by 1-2m in 7,212 villages.
The killing of tigress Avni is also likely to come up in the session. The tigress, who had allegedly killed 13 people in Yavatmal district in the last 2-years, was shot dead by a marksman hired by the state government in a forest on November-2. The BJP-led government has come under fire over the killing of the tigress who left behind two 10-month-old cubs.
The killing led to an outrage among animal lovers and wildlife organizations, which accused the state government of violating norms. The state government set up a four-member committee to probe the killing. A post-mortem report has revealed that the tigress was shot while she was facing away from the shooter and it has also raised doubts on the way the tranquilizer dart was administered.
The BJP is now the single-largest party in the Council with 22 seats. 9 new bills, including GST amendments, caste-validity for contesting gram panchayat polls, and another amendment regarding cooperative housing societies will be tabled in the session. Also, there are 8 pending bills awaiting clearances from either of the two Houses and six ordinances waiting for passage on the floor of both Houses.