Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Saturday hit out at the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) dispensation, saying that if the government does not have sufficient funds, it should take loan in order to pay to the employees of the state transport body.
He also said that since the Centre has reduced the fuel prices, the Maharashtra government should also slash the rates to provide further relief to people.
Targeting NCP leader Nawab Malik for demanding an SIT probe against NCB officer Sameer Wankhede, Patil sought to know why the minister was making this demand through media although he himself was in power.
The BJP leader was talking to reporters in Pune on the sidelines of an event.
A section of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees has been on strike over its main demand for merger of the cash-strapped corporation with the state government.
The MSRTC employees had started a "spontaneous" agitation over their various demands, including those related to salary. A majority of them returned to work after the state government accepted most of their demands, but the issue of merger remains unresolved.
Talking about it, Patil said, "This is not the first time that the MSRTC is running in losses. It was there earlier also, but there was no strike by these employees when we were in power. The then transport minister Diwakar Raote used to make sure that the state government allots enough funds." "If the present government lacks funds, then it should take loan. If you (government) don't want to take loan for the salaries of employee and to provide relief packages to farmers, then what exactly do you want to do? Do you want to kill people?" he asked.
He also urged people to ask Uddhav Thakeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar about how much the state government spent on tackling COVID-19.
"They spent nothing on it. The central government provided ration, vaccinse and even N-95 masks. Nothing was spent from the state government's pocket. Exactly what help did they extend to farmers?" he said.
Even ST employees did not get bonus and other payouts beyond Rs 4,000 this Diwali, he claimed.
"Around 29 ST employees have committed suicide...The government gave Rs 2,500 bonus to the workers, whereas we give around Rs 5,000 bonus to housemaids," he said.
The state government was earlier asking the Centre to reduce fuel prices, the BJP leader said, adding, "The Union government has reduced the fuel prices and even 14 other states have brought them down, so you (the state government) should also do it." When asked about the state's GST dues from the Centre, Patil said, "As per the GST rules, if Rs 1 is collected then it is divided equally. Hence, there is no question of any pending GST amount. PM Narendra Modi had promised to the states that if there is any revenue shortfall resulting from subsuming their taxes, such as VAT, then certain amount will be given by the GST Council for the first five years as a relief. For this, GST Council was given some products to collect GST from and pass on the collected amount to the states to compensate for their revenue shortfall.
"But in the last two years, the GST Council, despite being an autonomous body couldn't collect enough money to compensate to the states. The Modi government gave loan to the GST Council to pay to the states. The amount is given to the states monthly or every two months as per its share. So there is no GST dues remaining on the Centre's part," he claimed.
Talking about Nawab Malik's tweet on SIT inquiry against NCB's Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede, Patil said, "I think Malik has resigned from the post. If he is a minister then why he is asking for an inquiry through media instead of doing it himself. Former home minister (Anil Deshmukh) has been arrested and the present one (Dilip Walse Patil) is ill, the power is with you. Form one SIT or two (for the probe). If you are tweeting everyday and calling press conferences it means you have been removed from the post of the minister." On being asked about the allegations and counter-allegations surrounding the drugs case involving Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, he said, "It was all started by Nawab Malik. Shah Rukh Khan is not anyone so special that the party should start supporting...But if we remain silent, then it will be give a wrong message that we are accepting what the MVA is doing in the Aryan Khan case. Only When they started talking about Devendra Fadnavis, he spoke and so did I. Uddhav Thackeray should hold a meeting with his ministers and ask them what is going on." Patil also said that Malik should stop interfering in the work of probe agencies.
"Malik should not be concerned about whether Wankhede is conducting an inquiry or he has been removed from the case," he said.
His statement comes a day after the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) took Wankhede off the controversial cruise drugs case with the agency transferring the investigation in the matter and five other cases from the Mumbai unit headed by him to an SIT
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