The three-week budget session will be a heated affair

Amid exchanges of corruption accusations by ruling and opposition parties, a three-week budget session from March 3 will be a heated affair. The BJP has warned that it will not allow prosecutions until NCP Minister Nawab Malik, who was recently arrested in a money laundering case, resigns. On the other hand, MVA’s partners including NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress have taken an aggressive stance that Malik will remain in the cabinet as he was a victim of BJP’s revenge policy.

The session will also kick off in the context of the FIR filed against a senior IPS officer, Rashmi Shukla, in relation to the illegal wiretapping of opposition leaders carried out under the BJP government. The Congress party has called for an investigation against former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who held the Home Office, in the interception of opponents’ phones. The BJP challenged the MVA government to order an investigation to find out Fadnavis’ role.

MVA partners and BJP will also face off in the case brought against union minister Narayan Rane and his son MP Nitesh Rane for the alleged defamatory statement about Disha Salian, former manager of Sushant Singh Rajput. Rane targeted Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the MVA government in general on a number of issues. On the other hand, Shiv Sena leaves no possibility to counter Rane’s target as he demanded an investigation into various crimes that took place during Rane’s tenure as a minister in the past in Sindhudurg district.

Governor BS Koshyari’s statement that Samarth Ramdas was Chhatrapati Shivaji’s guru will be discussed, especially amid a growing rift between the governor and the MVA government. Already, leaders of the ruling alliance have been joined by a few BJP leaders in condemning Koshyari’s remarks.

That aside, the restoration of Maratha and OBC quotas, the remapping of wards in BMC and other civic bodies, the disconnection of power supply to agricultural consumers and the deterioration of the finances of the national electricity distribution company should be up for debate.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who will present the annual budget for 2022-23 on March 11, will have to strive to maintain the growing public debt and revenue deficit. The state’s public debt has already crossed Rs 6 lakh crore while the revenue deficit, which was estimated at Rs 10,226 crore and the fiscal deficit of Rs 66,641 crore for 2021-22, is expected to increase further. Amid the slow revenue collection during the current economic downturn, Pawar will find it difficult to provide support to the various chapters.

Additionally, MVA partners are expected to target the Center for delays in clearance of GST compensation of more than Rs 30,000 crore. However, the BJP has countered the argument of the MVA government by blaming it for the current financial mess.

The MVA and the BJP will spare no effort to target each other on the functioning of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation ahead of the upcoming elections. Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress will use the opportunity to take credit for the special allocation of over Rs 400 crore in the Mumbai Districts Annual Plan and also for a number of initiatives aimed at stimulate infrastructure development. However, the BJP, which launched Mission 2022, proposes to highlight the corruption in the BMC led by Shiv Sena. Incidentally, BJP was Shiv Sena’s partner in BMC until recently.

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Posted: Tuesday 01 March 2022, 20:44 IST

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