Winter session begins in Nagpur today, stormy scenes likely over Ajit induction

Oppn to raise issues like corruption charges against ministers

State machinery will be in firefighting mode the coming fortnight of winter session of the state assembly as opposition parties plan to corner the government over corruption charges and the irrigation scam.

The session from Monday is likely to be stormy as several ministers face allegations of graft - the most prominent being those over irrigation projects following which NCP leader Ajit Pawar resigned from all ministerial posts in September and was re-inducted last Friday.

The government lived up to its promise of presenting a white paper on irrigation projects ahead of the session. The over 300-page report, which was supposed to clear the air over actual area brought under irrigation in the last decade and fix responsibility for cost and time overruns, however, gave a virtual clean chit to the water resources department and then water resources minister Pawar. The overruns were blamed on perpetual problems and delays in land acquisition, relief and rehabilitation and changes in projects after approvals.

Pawar had resigned in September, stating he did not want to influence the white paper and would return to power only after it was presented.

Other NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal, Sunil Tatkare and Gulabrao Deokar are also facing serious allegations about projects in their tenures. While PILs have been filed against Bhujbal and Tatkare, Deokar is facing a court case.

Two weeks ago, Shiv Sena submitted a notice for a no-confidence motion against the government over the irrigation irregularities, but did not get consent of its ally BJP.

BJP has planned a gherao of the assembly Tuesday. The third leading party in the assembly, MNS, has not supported the move.

Opposition parties sharpened attack on the government after Pawar was re-introduced into the state cabinet as Deputy Chief Minister. They boycotted the traditional tea party hosted by CM a day before the session.

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