MNS president Raj Thackeray slammed the Narendra Modi government’s ‘smart city’ project Wednesday, saying it would stop municipal corporations from carrying out their work.
“The ‘smart city’ project is nothing but a farce that is being used as a political tool to deceive people. What is the need for the Centre to intervene and create disturbance when developing cities is the prerogative of the respective municipal corporations,” MNS president Raj Thackeray said while addressing a press conference in Mumbai.
Ten cities from Maharashtra have been selected to be developed as smart cities. They include Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Pune & Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Amravati, Solapur, Nashik, Nagpur, and Aurangabad. The Prime Minister had announced his vision to set up 100 smart cities across the country soon after his government was sworn in last year. The project envisages adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure. Thackeray said the PM wanted “undue credit for everything”, adding that Modi spoke a different language when he was Gujarat chief minister.
“The Centre will give Rs 100 crore for the project and a similar amount has to be shared between the states and their municipal corporations. What is it that they want to do with Rs 200 crore. Mumbai’s civic body has a budget of over Rs 30,000 crore. How will Rs 200 crore matter,” he asked.
He said cities like Mumbai, Pune and Thane were getting investments because of the culture of Maharashtra and that it had no relation whatsoever with the ‘smart city’ project.
“I will convey my apprehensions to the Centre and will talk to them on how they can help us,” said the MNS chief.
Thackeray said the BJP, during the campaigning of the Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation polls, announced a “fake” package of Rs 6,500 crore to gain political mileage. “The government, after declaring drought in the state, did not have money to pay farmers and had to increase taxes on fuel to provide them financial aid. How will they provide Rs 6,500 crore for KDMC alone? Their talks were all false,” he said.
Once an admirer of Narendra Modi, Raj Thackeray has increasingly been taking potshots at the PM of late. He was one of the few political leaders who had visited Gujarat when Modi was the CM. He had also shared the dais with him and gone to Gujarat in support of Modi’s Sadbhavana fast. During the Lok Sabha elections too, Thackeray had said his party MPs, if elected, would support Modi.
However, after his party’s abject performance in the state elections, Thackeray changed tack and became critical of Modi.