The politically-sensitive issue of statehood for Vidarbha today brought the ruling Shiv Sena and Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) together to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in both the houses of Maharashtra Legislature. Shiv Sena legislators, who wore the traditional Gandhi cap in saffron colour titled Akhand Maharashtra (United Maharashtra), and Opposition shouted slogans against any attempt to divide the state. Amid ruckus, the state assembly and the council were adjourned for the day.
Earlier, BJP was not at all perturbed but was on the offensive to take on Shiv Sena and Opposition. The Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis intervened and announced that there was no proposal by the state government on statehood for Vidarbha. ''The Centre takes a decision to form smaller states. A resolution has been moved in the parliament. However, there is no such proposal by the state government,'' he told the legislature.
The Shiv Sena legislators were quite aggressive against Vidarbha state. One of the Sena legislators Rajendra Khirsagar entered into the well and took away the ceremonial mace placed infront of the assembly speaker. However, he reinstated it after Fadnavis took strong objection. Shiv Sena was furious over the statement made by the state BJP unit chief Raosaheb Danve on the formation of Vidarbha state. They wanted Danve to tender an apology.
The leader of Opposition in the state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil led a scathing attack against the government for its move to divide Maharashtra. He targeted BJP, alleging that it seems the party has forgotten the sacrifice made by 105 martyrs for the formation of Maharashtra. In the state council, the leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde also criticised the BJP for trying to divide the state, while former chief minister Narayan Rane demanded the resignation of Fadnavis.
Shiv Sena legislator Neelam Gorhe hit out against BJP saying that the party should not act as the owner of the country. She claimed that with the statements made by BJP leaders, a conflicting signal is being sent across the state.
Meanwhile, BJP dropped a hint that it was prepared to face resolution by the Shiv Sena and Opposition for an united Maharashtra. BJP minister, who did not want to be quoted, told Business Standard: "It is not a Finance Bill, so there is no question of proving majority. The party may abstain during vote, if any. However, Shiv Sena will be exposed if it votes in support of United Maharashtra by aligning with Opposition. The government will survive."
He informed that BJP has been supporting the formation of smaller states and the party has been consistent since 1984 when it has allied with Shiv Sena.