Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday hit out at the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray saying the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government was the most corrupt in the history of the state with extortion being its "only agenda".
The former chief minister alleged that the MVA government came to power by indulging in dishonesty, and claimed that the BJP is the number one party in the state.
He made the statements a day after Thackeray, who is also the president of the Shiv Sena, launched a no-holds-barred attack on the BJP during the Sena's annual Dussehra rally here.
"Thackeray's speech reflected his frustration. You may try to defame the BJP, but the party is firmly grounded...You should remember that the BJP is the number one party in the state," Fadnavis told reporters here.
"You are saying that the people rejected the BJP, but in fact they rejected the NCP-Congress and promoted you (Shiv Sena). Out of the seats that we fought together (in the 2019 Assembly polls), the BJP had won nearly 70 per cent seats and the Shiv Sena had won 45 per cent seats. Hence, you indulged in dishonesty with the people's vote and came to power," he said.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena had parted ways after the 2019 Assembly polls over the issue of the chief minister's post. The Thackeray-led party later joined hands with the NCP and the Congress to form the government. In that election, the BJP had won 105 seats, followed by the Sena (56), the NCP (54) and the Congress (48) in the 288-member House.
"This is a government formed through dishonesty and I feel that respected Uddhavji should now accept that he had ambitions of becoming a chief minister which he fulfilled. In politics, having ambitions is not wrong. But if you wanted to keep the word, you could have made senior Sena leaders Diwakar Raote, Subhash Desai or Eknath Shinde a CM," Fadnavis said.
In the past, Thackeray had said several times that he had made a promise to his late father Bal Thackeray to install a 'Shiv sainik' (party worker) as chief minister of Maharashtra.
"If you really did not want to become a CM, then why Narayan Rane had to leave Shiv Sena? Rane did not want to become the party chief. Also, why Raj Thackeray had to leave Shiv Sena?" Fadnavis asked.
It is alright if you had ambitions of becoming chief minister, but now please stop blaming us, the BJP leader said.
Over Thackeray's allegation that central agencies like ED and CBI were being misused, Fadnavis claimed, "These agencies were working on the orders of the high court and the reason for that is the government headed by you is the most corrupt in the history of Maharashtra." "You should keep in mind that it would be recorded in the history of Maharashtra that this is most corrupt government in the history of the state. There is only one agenda of this government, which is extortion," he alleged.
Fadnavis further said the Income Tax Department's raids have revealed that there was rampant corruption in the state.
"The 'dalali' (middlemanship) has reached to such level that some ministers have even got extortion softwares created to know how much money is to be extorted from whom. If such things are going on then it is natural that ED-CBI will come to the state," he claimed.
Fadnavis said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi never lets these agencies get misused.
The prime minister never interferes in the work of these agencies and never uses it for political gains, he added.
"Had these agencies been misused, then half of the total number of your ministers would have been in jail. But we believe in democracy and will not misuse these agencies. The previous governments led by Congress and its allies used to misuse these agencies. One thing is certain that Modiji won't relax unless he completely roots out corruption," Fadnavis said.
During his Dussehra speech, Thackeray urged Sena workers and people of Maharashtra to emulate the example of Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal which stood up to the BJP.
Referring to it, the BJP leader asked Thackeray, "Why do you want to turn Maharashtra into that state (WB) where no industry could flourish because of union activities and extortion? Where people are beaten up and hanged for speaking against you. Do you want to build such Maharashtra? But the BJP will never let Maharashtra turn into Bengal, it will remain as Maharashtra." Fadnavis said that Thackeray in his speech raised question over the Centre-state relationship and federal structure and talked about the Constitution framed by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.
"The Constitution made by Dr Ambedkar will never change and no one can do it. Hence, this agenda of changing the Constitution taking along some Communists and Left ideology parties, we will never let it happen," he asserted.
To a query on Thackeray's statement in which he dared the BJP to topple his government, Fadnavis said the if the government has to fall he would not even know.
"I only want to say that we are not interested in that. We are interested in the issues concerning people. Why do you always say topple the government? You should rather solve the issues faced by people, show your work, show how you can help farmers, show you can run the government," he said.
On Thackeray's statement about the NCB's raids, Fadnavis said he should decide on whose side he was - whether on the side of drugs suppliers and consumers or on the side of those acting against the drug peddlers.
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