Addressing a rally here, he said, “How can a government in Delhi work with someone who shut the doors on us… someone who does not have the courage to share a platform with me?”
While Modi, who kicked off his poll campaign in Maharashtra and Haryana on Saturday, did not name the Shiv Sena, it was clear that his target was the BJP’s former ally.
Promising to make Mumbai slum-free by 2022, he said, “Unfortunately, you have people coming and collecting haftas (extortion money), but they never deliver the results… Mumbaikars cannot be left vulnerable any more.” The reference to “hatfa” seemed to be aimed at the local Shiv Sainiks.
Taking his cue from Modi, state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said: “It is not enough to just take the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji and then go to people and collect haftas… In 2002, it was Modi who first visited Shivaji’s fort and pledged to provide an administration like Shivaji.” The Sena had earlier criticised the BJP’s poll slogan — “Chalo Chale Chhatrapati Shivaji Ka Le Aashirwad”.
The BJP had so far refrained from criticising its former ally. In fact, earlier this week, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had said, “We are not ruling out a post-poll alliance with Shiv Sena.” Supporting this line, senior party leader L K Advani had lamented the BJP-Sena break-up and urged the two parties to patch up after polls. Senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra had also talked of a post-poll alliance.
But, setting the stage for an aggressive campaign on Saturday, Modi asked the people to ensure absolute majority to the BJP and ensure perfect coordination between the state and the central governments.
“The financial capital of India will determine the economic well-being and growth of the entire nation. Maharashtra is a state which sets the direction for the nation. And it is my resolve to ensure progress of Mumbai and Maharashtra. There cannot be any compromise or doubts on Maharashtra’s immense significance in shaping the destiny of Hindustan,” he said.
Targeting the outgoing Congress-NCP government, he said, “The state registered a maximum of 3,700 farmer suicides every year, yet Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is from Maharashtra. It appears that he was unmindful about the crisis despite being in the government at the Centre and having a Congress-NCP government in the state also.”
Promising infrastructure development, Modi pledged to make Mumbai a world-class city. He also promised modernisation of railway network through greater foreign direct investment.