Differences between the two senior most representatives of the Maharashtra government came to the fore again on Tuesday, with Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis saying that he would ask Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse to review his decision to shut down cattle camps in the drought-hit regions of Marathwada.
“I would request the cabinet sub-committee to reconsider the decision to shut down cattle camps. I have apprised him of the feelings of MLAs and Ministers. There is availability of fodder at the moment. However, at the local level, people are keen that such camps remain functional,” Fadnavis said.
The cabinet sub committee headed by Khadse had directed that fodder camps in drought-hit Osmanabad, Beed and Latur should be shut down as there was ample cattle fodder available for the next three months. The revenue minister, however, claimed that the decision to shut these camps was temporary and they could be opened once again if farmers demanded it.
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Khadse’s decision faced resistance from within the Cabinet, with even Minister for Rural Development Pankaja Munde calling for its review. Alliance partner Shiv Sena too has opposed the move to shut down fodder camps.
“If camps are closed, farmers will be forced to agitate and the Sena will come on the roads in support of farmers,” Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray had said.
This is the second time in less than a month when the chief minister has raised concerns over a decision taken by Khadse. Khadse, one the senior most BJP leaders in the state, lost out to his younger party colleague, Fadnavis, for the CM post.
Faced with criticism over the allotment of a prime plot in the city to actor and MP Hema Malini, Fadanvis had announced that his government would scrap the over three-decade-old policy empowering the state to allot land for cultural and educational purposes at concessional rates.
The announcement was perceived as a slight by Khadse and an attempt to tread on his turf.