On October 31, 2014, when Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis took over the reins of the Maharashtra government, he promised a clean government. That image may have been dented as the government completes three years. Speaking to The Indian Express he talks about subjects ranging from corruption allegations against ministers, to the coalition conflict.
Why have you refrained from taking action against cabinet ministers facing serious allegations of corruption?
In the last three years, not a single corruption charge against any of the ministers has been substantiated. So, where is the question of acting against any minister? Whether it is government or politics, I have always maintained that the fight against corruption will remain non-negotiable. And if charges are proved, nobody would be spared.
What about a series scams by Housing Minister Prakash Mehta? Earlier, there were allegations against Education Minister Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde in the chikki scam.
In the case of the housing minister, the decision was aborted even before it was formalised in a housing project (SRA project in Tardeo). So, where is the corruption? There was no deal struck nor funds mobilised. Yet, an investigation has been ordered and the report is awaited. All other charges levelled against Mehta are factually not correct. In the past, the Opposition levelled allegations against ministers but none of them were proved.
Have you evaluated the performance of the ministers? What will follow?
Yes, it is an ongoing process. I can state with certainty that a cabinet expansion and reshuffle will take place. Some ministers will be dropped. Candidates who have greater potential will be inducted. The regional balance will be considered.
Shiv Sena has objected to Narayan Rane’s induction in the cabinet…
Rane’s party Maharashtra, Swabhimani Party, is an independent organisation and has joined the NDA. Moreover, Rane came to the NDA from the Congress and not from the Shiv Sena. Why should Sena object to his induction?
Has the BJP-Shiv Sena conflict touched an all-time low?
I admit the Shiv Sena has been opposing each and every decision taken by the government. I perceive that the Sena’s decision to support the government and also oppose its policies will not be liked by the people. The people are the best judge. It does not affect the BJP-led government.
Is the BJP ready for an alliance with the Sena in the 2019 Parliament and Assembly polls?
The BJP is ready for an alliance with the Sena provided they recognise and accept our electoral growth.
How does one explain the growing closeness between the BJP and NCP? You have been sharing the dais with NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and others regularly.
If there are a series of celebrations in the NCP to commemorate the 61st birthday or the 75th birthday of their leaders, what can I do? These are all apolitical functions. There is no question of any alliance with NCP.
Does it not impact ongoing investigations of corruption charges against top NCP leaders like Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare?
All the charges of corruption are being probed. In the chargesheets, names of all senior leaders find a mention. Nobody will be spared in corruption charges. Since each chargesheet runs into 30000 pages, it takes time. But matters will be taken to a logical end.