Opposition girding up to take on Maharashtra government

An aggressive opposition is preparing to take on Maharashtra`s government.

Mumbai: An aggressive opposition is preparing to take on Maharashtra`s Democratic Front government on a range of issues, including price rise, the boundary dispute with Karnataka and the Pune blast probe in the assembly`s monsoon session starting here next week.

The prime issue is the fuel price hike over which opposition parties staged a successful shutdown on July 05. Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has already announced that he would seek answers from the ruling party over rising prices which have hit the common man hard.

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray also said his party would take up the inflation issue in the assembly, along with all the non-Congress and non-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) parties which were united in the shutdown last week.

Another issue which cropped up just a few days before the session is the central government`s stance on the boundary dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka. It has termed as "unjustified" Maharashtra`s claim of 814 villages with a majority Marathi-speaking population in the Karnataka districts of Belgaum, Bidar, Gulbarga and Karwar.

Though Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has sought to downplay the developments, the opposition has already protested against the central government`s viewpoint, even as the matter comes up for final hearing in the Supreme Court July 12.

Another important issue that promises fireworks is the debacle of the Best of Five formula for the state board`s Class 10 students, which has put a question mark over the admission process for junior colleges.

Following the rejection of the Best of Five formula by the high court, the state government has approached the apex court. Another matter of concern is the failure of investigating agencies to crack the Feb 13 terror blast in Pune`s German Bakery even six months after the incident.

Though 23-year-old Abdul Samad - nabbed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad from Mangalore - was described by Home Minister P Chidambaram as a "prime suspect", state Home Minister RR Patil said he was not wanted for the Pune blast case.

Last week, Samad claimed he was only booked in an illegal arms act and was not related to the Bhatkal brothers - the founders of the terror group Indian Mujahideen.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshawardhan Patil has said the government would introduce eight bills during the monsoon session. The house would also consider the revocation of the suspension of four legislators of Raj Thackeray`s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for attacking Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Asim Azmi last year.

The MNS legislators, suspended for four years, are Shishir Shinde, Ram Kadam, Vasant Gite and Ramesh Vanjale.


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