The simmering discontent within the Shiv Sena against the BJP seems to have been pacified for the time being with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday promising equitable support to Sena MLAs on development funds. The Shiv Sena demanded higher allocation of funds for their constituencies according to their strength of 63 MLAs in the Assembly.
“We made our demand and we are satisfied with CM’s assurance. The CM has given us an assurance that there will be equitable distribution of development funds. This is a combined government but earlier, the BJP legislators would get more development funds than the Sena legislators. This will now stop and everyone will get equal funds,” environment minister and senior Sena leader Ramdas Kadam said.
A Sena minister said that during the Congress-NCP government, the allocation of budget was in the ratio of 55 and 45 per cent. “The BJP should evolve a formula for allocation that would commensurate with the electoral strength of the Sena and the BJP,” he said.
“The Congress-NCP had found a workable formula in the last 15 years. Based on the party’s strength, they not only worked out allocation of portfolios in the coalition government, but also the development funds ratio was fixed,” he added.
The total allocation for developmental plan is Rs 77.184 crore in the 2017-18 budget. Of the amount, the district scheme allocation is Rs 7,562 crore, the special component scheme allocation is Rs 7,231 crore and the tribal component schemes allocation is Rs 6,754 crore.
Another Sena leader said: “Our apprehension is that the BJP being a leading party would stand to gain more from the allocation of budget as they have 123 members in the Assembly. Although the Sena has a strength of 63 MLAs who support the government, we demanded higher allocations.”
The Sena’s demand comes a day after an internal meeting with party president Uddhav Thackeray.
The party has been particularly worried after reports emerged that the state BJP, which last week held a meeting of its core committee members, was contemplating early polls in order to ride on the present wave of support that it enjoys.
The party also indicated that Uddhav Thackeray was planning state-wide tour.
Talking about early elections, a Sena minister said: “Nobody is in favour of immediate polls in our party.”
On Friday, the Shiv Sena also raised the demand for farm loan waiver with Fadnavis. “The chief minister has promised to look into our demand. He has assured us that he will ensure that none of the Sena MLAs have any grouse henceforth,” Public Works Department (Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation) minister Eknath Shinde said.