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Sunday, July 6 1997

State monsoon session likely to be stormy

Sanjay Jog



MUMBAI, July 5: The three week monsoon session of the state legislature which begins on Monday is likely to be a stormy affair. The opposition is determined to take on the alliance government on a range of issues right from the gruesome attacks on Congress MLA Ashok Mohol and journalists from Amravati and Thane, the police lathicharge on activist Medha Patkar, slumdwellers from Kandivli and Congress MLA Anees Ahmed, apathy to city textile mill workers and above all collapse of the state economy.

The opposition is also prepared to grill the BJP on its alleged links with scamster CR Bhansali. "The BJP's relations with Bhansali exposes its true colours," the opposition said. The Mumbai high court's order on Friday reinstating suspended deputy municipal commissioner GR Khairnar has embarrassed the alliance government.

The opposition parties will obviously cash in on this issue.BJP MP from Nagpur Banwarilal Purohit's concerted attack on deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde and BJP leader Pramod Mahajan related to corruption in the allotment coalfields to Ispat group in Vidarbha region has come as a "blessing in disguise" for the opposition.

Their leaders in the state assembly and council, Madhukar Pichad and Chhagan Bhyujbal, said that they would like to know the reality from the state government.The Khatau textile mill's failure to pay arrears to its workers would be debated during the session.

"It is unfortunate that despite the state government's intervention, the millworkers have yet to wait for their salary and arrears," Pichad said. He added that the opposition would like to know what action the government plans to take against the management for its breach of committment.

The opposition has taken serious objection to the state ministers foreign junkets. "Whether the ministers have spent from their pockets or has it burdened the state exchequer is something the people would like to know," Bhujbal and Pichad said.

The opposition has decided to press for extension of the monsoon session to a month instead of present the three weeks. Chief minister Manohar Joshi is confident of sailing through safely during the session. He hoped that the opposition would cooperate in the completion of business.

Joshi has consolidated his position at the government and party levels in the wake of the recent reshuffle. His gamble to win over Congress heavyweights from sugar rich districts has already paid off with the entry of Radhkrishna Vikhe-Patil in the Sena fold.

He is in the process of luring more Congressmen from cooperative movements to further embarass the faction ridden opposition Congress. In all, 15 bills will be presented by the state government during this session. These will include The Maharashtra Tax on Entry of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 1997, The Maharashtra Recognition of Trade and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices (Amendment) Bill, 1997.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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