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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

His govt lays out agenda, Uddhav says ‘still with Hindutva, can’t be separated from me’

Devendra Fadnavis said the BJP had been denied power as “political arithmetic prevailed over merit”. To Thackeray’s dig at him over his ‘I will come back’ poll campaign tagline, Fadnavis said he had not given a time frame as to when he would be back and that no one should rule it out.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: December 2, 2019 4:05:03 am
CM Uddhav Thackeray, Speaker Nana Patole and Governor Koshyari at the Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai Sunday. (Express photo)

Addressing a special session of the Maharashtra Assembly Sunday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he would never abandon the ideology of Hindutva, and that Hindutva could not be separated from him.

Days after the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress thrashed out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) with a “preamble” mentioning “secular”, Thackeray said, “I am still with the ideology of Hindutva which cannot be separated from me… Our Hindutva was there yesterday, it is still with us today and it will remain tomorrow as well. But my Hindutva includes keeping my word. My Hindutva is not of saying Jai Shri Ram and not keeping my word.”

The Sena has accused former ally BJP of not keeping its “promise” of sharing the CM post between them, reportedly made before the elections.

Addressing the session in Marathi, Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government was concerned about unemployment and would enact a law soon to ensure 80 per cent reservation in private sector jobs for “sons of the soil”. The government would also come out with a white paper on the financial status of the state, as well as provide compensation to farmers.

The Governor’s speech, to the joint sitting of the state legislature, indicated that the broad agenda of the Sena-NCP-Congress government would be in line with the CMP finalised by the three parties.

Koshyari’s other announcements too, including Rs 10 meals for common citizens and a super-speciality hospital in every district, were a part of the CMP along with 80 per cent quota in jobs for locals.

The government will soon come out with a detailed report on financial allocations and expenditures project-wise, complete with current status and shortcomings, he said.

Speaking to the media later, Thackeray said, “We will first ascertain how the money was allocated project-wise. There is a possibility that some issues may have been skipped and may require greater urgency. We may have to prioritise our projects and financial allocations.”

Maharashtra is under severe financial stress due to recurring drought over the past four years. The total debt of the state stands at Rs 4.50 lakh crore.

The Governor said the government would also address “the pending issues of OBCs and other communities”.

A ban on plastic, which the Shiv Sena has been asking for, found a mention, as did Re 1 clinics at the taluka level.

Koshyari said the government would try to offer education to women free of cost and build hostels for working women. “A progressive society offers opportunity for people,” he said.

In his address, Thackeray took frequent potshots at former CM Devendra Fadnavis, underlining that their positions would have been reverse had the BJP kept its “promise”. He also vowed, “I can assure this House and people of Maharashtra that I will not do anything at midnight.”

At the same time, Thackeray added, his friendship with Fadnavis would remain intact. Congratulating him for being named Leader of the Opposition, the CM said he would rather call Fadnavis “responsible leader”. “We have been together for 25 years but I didn’t expect this day to come. In a way, I am the most lucky CM so far. Those who were my opposition for the last 25 years are my friends today and those with whom I was friends are in opposition today. I honestly feel there will be no opposition as they are my friends… I have learnt many things from Fadnavis. I have never hidden my friendship. It will remain like that,” said Thackeray, while seeking Fadnavis’s cooperation for government functioning.

Fadnavis said the BJP had been denied power as “political arithmetic prevailed over merit”. To Thackeray’s dig at him over his ‘I will come back’ poll campaign tagline, Fadnavis said he had not given a time frame as to when he would be back and that no one should rule it out.

Saying he would continue to raise issues as per the Constitution, Fadnavis said the controversy over his remarks on Sena MLAs’ oath-taking was misplaced. “I did not object to them taking the names of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Balsaheb Thackeray or other leaders. But, oath should be taken as per the proforma given in the Constitution by Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said.

Earlier, Congress MLA Nana Patole was unanimously elected Maharashtra Assembly Speaker after the BJP candidate withdrew his name.

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