Congress leader Milind Deora has written to party interim chief Sonia Gandhi, expressing concern over Rahul Gandhi’s 2019 poll promise of allotting 500 sq ft homes to Mumbai slumdwellers not moving “effectively” towards implementation under the new dispensation in Maharashtra.
Raising concern that the policy initiatives of the Congress were not being implemented by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Deora sought the establishment of a mechanism to ensure that poll promises made by the party are implemented.
In his letter, dated January 24, Deora said that upon his advice in March 2019, then Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said at a rally that 500 sq ft homes will be allotted under slum and dilapidated building rehabilitation schemes, if his party is voted to power in Maharashtra.
“Rahulji’s promise was made to Mumbaikars when he was the Congress president. It concerns me that such an important policy initiative has still not moved towards implementation,” Deora wrote. “This promise was later included in the common minimum programme worked out by the three parties,” he added. At present, 269 sq ft houses are provided under the slum redevelopment projects in the city.
The former Mumbai Congress president said that various other “realistic and feasible” promises too were made by the Congress to the people ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Maharashtra in 2019.
“I therefore request you to consider establishing an effective mechanism in Maharashtra, similar to the one in (other) Congress-governed states, so that the state government may speedily deliver on the poll promises made by Congress to the voters of Maharashtra,” Deora wrote.
He alleged that over the last 50 days, Congress’ allies Shiv Sena and NCP had moved towards implementing their programmes and poll promises. “Maharashtra’s voters have appreciated this effort and are beginning to welcome several decisions,” Deora said. Revenue Minister and Congress state president Balasaheb Thorat of Congress, however, dismissed perception of rumblings in the Shiv Sena-led government against the backdrop of Deora’s letter. Taking a swipe at Deora, Thorat said he would explain the factual position vis-a-vis the implementation of initiatives mentioned in the common minimum programme to the Congress leader if the latter was interested. “We are working on these. It is a common programme of the three parties, not any single party’s programme. Deoraji will understand if he looks at these,” he said.
“Maha Vikas Aghadi is working as per the CMP it had drafted before forming the government in state,” he added. Asked if Deora was hinting at differences within MVA, Thorat replied in the negative. “Sonia Gandhi is our leader. Workers speak to her when they feel something. She also speaks to us. This goes on. We will explain him (Deora) if he asks us (for details),” he said.
Referring to senior Congress leader and PWD Minister Ashok Chavan’s remarks on a written undertaking from the Sena, Thorat said they were distorted. Chavan had caused furore saying Sonia had sought a written undertaking from the Sena that the new government in Maharashtra would work within the ambit of the Constitution. “Chavan’s statement is being distorted. He only had talked about the government working as per the CMP… All is well,” Thorat said when asked about NCP and Sena leaders being upset over Chavan’s remark.
(With PTI inputs)
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