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Shiv Sena isolated on no-confidence motion against Cong-NCP govt

Home Minister RR Patil's challenge led to noisy protests

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The Opposition on Tuesday stood isolated on its decision to move against the - government as its alliance partner refused to extend support while the questioned the timing.

Sena's move is coincided with the party's adamant stand against the demolition of make shift memorial of late constructed at the sprawling Shivaji Park in north central Mumbai.

However, Shiv Sena defended its move saying that it wanted to exercise the legislative provision of moving no-confidence motion to expose the Congress-NCP government on issues related to multi-crore irrigation scam, corruption in toll collection and implementation of various schemes in tribal development department, deteriorating law and order situation and on top of it its failure to effectively tackle the drought conditions in the state.

However, Sena's move also exposed widening differences among its legislators. Sena's group leader in the state assembly Subhash Desai, who enjoys tacit support of party executive president Uddhav Thackeray, has been currently pitted against a group of young turks who have been complaining about not getting enough opportunity to put up their case in the house.

The state Home Minister RR Patil took advantage of the divided Opposition and declared that the government was prepared to face the no-confidence motion in and outside the legislature. This led to a noisy protest from the Opposition which pressed for an apology from Patil. After four adjournments and amid slogan shouting from the Opposition, the presiding officer called for the business of the day and adjourned the state assembly after the completion of subjects lined up for today's proceedings. Patil provoked the BJP in particular as it was not in a mood for an immediate debate on Sena's no-confidence motion as it had organised morcha against the alleged misrule of the Congress-NCP government.

The isolation of Shiv Sena, which has 46 legislators in the 288 member state assembly, was quite visible. When the speaker Dilip Walse-Patil wanted to know from Shiv Sena on moving no-confidence motion in the house, the party stood further exposed due to its failure to unite the Opposition.

At the backroom exercise, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil took Sena's sense when the party's group leader Subhash Desai declined to withdraw but reiterated party's stand to press for debate on its no-confidence motion. The government also showed its preparedness to face the situation as it was confident about its numbers. Congress has 82 members followed by NCP's 62 while more than 23 independents and smaller parties are supporting the state government. On the other hand, BJP with 47 and MNS with 12 members have not made up their mind to vote in favour of Sena's move.

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