Maharashtra MLAs stay put in House past midnight

In an unprecedented move late on Monday night, opposition MLAs from Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), led by Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil refused to move out of Assembly demanding announcement of relief package for farmers affected by crop diseases.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had to call Mr. Vikhe-Patil as early as 12.45 a.m. with a promise to make an announcement on Tuesday, after which the protest was called off.

Mr. Vikhe-Patil had warned the State government on Monday afternoon, that the opposition will not move out of the Assembly until it gives details of per hectare relief package announced to cotton farmers affected by pink bollworm, and rice farmers by tudtudya and mawa.

Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot said the government has ensured all possible help to farmers, but the Opposition demanded actual numbers.

As the proceedings of Monday ended at 12.15 a.m. on Tuesday, over a dozen opposition MLAs participated in the protest, and turned down calls for negotiation by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat and Minister of State Ranajit Patil.

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