For the first time in the state's political history, there is virtually no opposition to reckon with in the assembly polls. How do you assess this situation as a leader of the ruling party?
Having virtually no opposition is not a matter of joy, but one of concern. A strong opposition is a vital component of democracy. However, I would not consider Pawar a weak opponent. It is all about them, rather than working for the people of Maharashtra.
The problem with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party is, they are mainly concerned about themselves losing the power. Sharad Pawar is under the scanner of investigative agencies but his behaviour is that of one desperately seeking attention. Raj Thackeray’s MNS is also practically finished and it is unfortunate, as Raj is one of the sharpest political minds in current times.
Having been named by the Enforcement Directorate in the Maharashtra Co-operative Bank scam, both Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar have alleged this is vendetta politics. Is this true?
There’s no vendetta politics in this. Both Sharad and Ajit Pawar have fleeced farmers, and traders. They have committed a white collar crime against farmers.
There is also a link between HDIL and the NCP. The uncle-nephew duo, along with other board members, were found guilty under sections 155 and 156 of the Indian Penal Code and thus they are bound to face trial in court.
Since the Lok Sabha elections, there has been a steady exodus from opposition parties to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). How do you justify this horse trading?
There has been an influx of opposition leaders into the BJP, but that doesn’t mean we are opening our gates to everyone. Politics without ideology has no meaning.
We have a filter system in place and the gatekeepers of our party are screening these newcomers. We too need to strengthen our party, which is why when we see influential leaders from the opposition wanting to be with us, we take them in, but not without assessing their eligibility.
The BJP has always raised its voice against dynasty. Noticeably, the party has given tickets mainly to the relatives of the sitting MPs and MLAs ahead of the assembly polls. Don’t you think the BJP is also promoting nepotism?
Tickets are being given on the virtue of merit and only those worthy of their posts and carrying out their job efficiently are being given tickets to contest.
We see no harm in the children and relatives of our party workers also joining the party. Because as children, we tend follow in the footsteps of our elders.