Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane said Tuesday the bitter fight between the saffron allies was for cornering commissions and bribes in civic contracts. “Devendra Fadnavis (Maharashtra CM) and Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena President) are tearing each other apart. Personal allegations are being made. But this fight is not for bettering lives of citizens or transparency in governance, but for commissions. Civic contractors give them 15-18 per cent commission (for contracts). Cuts in contracts is what this fight is all about,” Rane said at a rally in suburban Andheri, his first for the Mumbai polls.
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Rane had not participated in the initial leg of the campaign citing differences with Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam. Incidentally, another Nirupam baiter, former Union minister Gurudas Kamat also shared the dais with Rane in Andheri’s Amboli. Nirupam was not present at the rally. “Both Uddhav Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis are desperate for power in the Mumbai municipality to make money,” alleged Rane, a former Shiv Sainik.
Rane, known to be a Uddhav baiter, also targeted the Sena over the depleting voice of the Marathi manoos in the city. “You (Uddhav) play your politics on the Marathi manoos, but you have yourself thrown him out of Mumbai,” he said, citing the depleting percentage of Marathi-speaking population in Mumbai. “You say Karun Dakhavla (We did it). This is what you have done?” Rane asked.
Taking a dig at the two-decade-old Sena-BJP reign in Mumbai, Rane said, “Cities like Shanghai and Singapore transformed themselves in 25 years. You paint dreams of replicating their models, but citizens here are grappling with basic issues,” he said. Amboli is a traditional Shiv Sena bastion. Suspected Sena supporters even tried to disrupt Rane’s speech twice, but the police dispersed them.
The former CM also attacked Fadnavis in his characteristic style. “He talks of transparency, but he himself is shielding 14 tainted ministers in his government.” Counting various promises doled out by the BJP ahead of the 2014 assembly polls, Rane said both Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to make a single one count. “They are used to making fake promises,” he said.
Rane also criticised the brand of political campaigning and mutual allegation war between Uddhav and Fadnavis. “The CM especially has crossed all limits. Maharashtra has never seen such personal vendetta politics before,” he said. “Fadnavis calls Uddhav corrupt and non-transparent. Uddhav says you are sheltering goons. People know both of you are corrupt, non-transparent, and shelter goons,” he added.
Accusing the BJP of taking credit for development work carried out by the Congress, he said, “All Fadnavis knows is advertisement blitz. The BJP has done nothing for the people so far.”
Earlier, addressing the same gathering, Kamat said Fadnavis-Uddhav war had made election win simpler for the Congress. He said contractors who were blacklisted by the BMC were later awarded contracts by the CM-led MMRDA, and in the BJP-led Nagpur municipality. Both leaders also clarified that they would actively campaign for the party.