Speaking at the concluding session of the two-day BJP state executive meet, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Thursday asked party workers to begin preparations “during peace time” for the “big battle ahead’ in 2019.
While scotching speculations of mid-term polls, Fadnavis said the BJP-led government would comfortably complete its five-year term.
Asking party workers to focus on grassroots, Fadnavis said: “‘Man to man, heart to heart’ should be our endeavour to expand our organisation beyond our parivar and party.”
He also emphasised on the need for using technology to increase the BJP’s reach.
“Whether it is politics or policies, our endeavor would be to reach out to the poorest of the poor. The role of the karyakartas would be to carry our schemes to every doorstep using modern means, such as apps and social media,” the CM said.
“In the past, we have stressed on creating at least 10 workers for manning one booth. Today, I set the target of 50 workers for each of our 90,000 booths,” he added.
While outlining the political and administrative challenges ahead in Maharashtra, Fadnavis said, “Today, we have provided Rs 34,000-crore loan waiver to help 89 lakh farmers. This has lead to financial constraints. But the biggest task ahead is to mobilise more funds not only to override the loan waiver, but also make higher capital investments in the agriculture sector.”
The conclave, held in the backdrop of Opposition allegations of corruption against state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve and housing minister Prakash Mehta, saw the party skipping the issue at its deliberations.
The chief minister also refrained from making any comment on the leaders.
He, however, attacked the Congress-NCP over the farmers’ agitation. Slamming the Opposition and the Sukanu committee, which has taken to the streets, Fadnavis said: “What is the rationale behind the demonstrations when the Maharashtra government has already announced the biggest-ever farm loan waiver? While under the previous government, the benefits for farmers were pocketed by politicians and a few influential farmers, the BJP government has put in place a strict monitoring mechanism to make sure only the needy are helped by the waiver.”
The chief minister added: “If we were to give complete loan waiver it would incur a Rs 1.14 lakh crore budget. Can any state in the country afford such a loan waiver? Do you want to stop all the other schemes for the dalits, tribals and other sectors?”
He added: “Moreover, how can they justify loan waiver to rich farmers?”
Speaking about Sukanu committee’s protest Fadnavis said: “Ten persons parked themselves on a goods train that was in the yard and described it as a rail roko. People are not going to be fooled by such false rhetorics.”
The chief minister took a dig at the communist leaders who were in the forefront of the Sukanu committee for “threatening” ministers from hoisting the Tricolour. He said: “What kind of politics and mindset can threaten state ministers from hoisting the national flag. Only the anti-nationals can take such decisions.”
Sukanu Committee general secretary Ajit Nawale had threatened to gherao and not allow ministers to hoist the national flag on Independence Day.
Stating that he held genuine farmers’ leaders working for their cause in the highest regards, the chief minister added: “There are some elements
with absolutely no following who are trying to resort to
destructive methods to get centre stage.”
In a veiled attack against Sukanu committee general secretary Ajit Nawale, he said: “Yes, there are some whose umbrella opens here even it if rains in China.”
The sarcasm was not lost on the audience as Nawale had led the agitation of farmers between August 11 and 15 to demand complete loan waiver for farmers. Fadnavis described the demand as a calculated move to drive the state towards anarchy. Unfortunately, they have failed to elicit support from the real farmers, he said.
‘Move beyond media’
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Thursday urged party workers to move beyond the media and advertisements, “which often distort facts”. The CM was commenting on speculation about a change of guard in the state BJP and the government.
“I would like to assure the workers that I am here to continue as CM and Danve as state party president. Let the media do their own business. It is not our look-out,” he said.