In what could cause more friction in the already strained ties between BJP and ally Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked the farmers affected by the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway project to continue their agitation.
The expressway, connecting two major cities of the state, is an ambitious project of the BJP-led state government.
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The farmers from Shahapur in neighbouring Thane district whose land is likely to fall under the project met Thackeray at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra. They have alleged large scale purchase of land along the proposed road by several serving and retired bureaucrats.
“I will not let your fertile lands to be wasted. Continue your agitation and Shiv Sena will back you,” he said, after listening to grievances of the farmers.
“Though we are a part of the government, me and my party back farmers completely. The Sena will support your agitation,” said Thackeray, who had on Saturday shared stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Mumbai.
“Many assurances are given by governments in the name of development at the start of projects but nothing happens in the end. It seems that this time, in the name of development, fertile land of farmers is being taken away. I will talk to the Chief Minister and try to find out a solution for this,” the Sena chief said.
Speaking in the Assembly during the recent winter session at Nagpur, Fadnavis had assured a probe into the allegations of large scale purchase of land by bureaucrats. Shiv Sena, which is part of the ruling alliances in Maharashtra and also at the Centre, has been critical of various decisions taken by government, including demonetisation.
It has also accused the BJP of hijacking the on Saturday Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial ‘jal pujan’ event for political gains.