Announcing that nobody can stop the BJP from a massive victory in Mumbai, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday set the tone for the 2017 BMC elections for which he is banking on the development plank. He announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will perform the bhoomipujan for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) in October-November. He added that the state government will unlock land in Mumbai for affordable housing for the “aam Mumbaikar”.
Giving a clarion call to “karyakartas” (workers) to get back to poll preparations, he rolled out a comprehensive development plank for transformation of the commercial capital keeping in mind the ordinary “Mumbaikar”.
At the BJP’s conclave, where the party’s city unit chief Ashish Shelar was formally appointed for a second term, Fadnavis addressed workers by asserting that development will be the key to the electoral battle with the Shiv Sena in the BMC polls.
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“My appeal to party workers is to consolidate your hold on booths. You have to emerge senapati taking total control of your booths. And that would be the magic to electoral victory in the civic polls. Leave the larger strategy to us,” he said.
In the wake of the Union Cabinet expansion and a conflict with the Sena, Fadnavis exercised caution and did not indulge in any political rhetoric. At the same time, he made it plain that the ruling party has taken up the formidable task of Mumbai makeover on a war footing.
“Political power is for the welfare of the aam Mumbaikar. The policy reforms in the housing sector, unlocking of land holding or infrastructure are keeping in mind the middle class and the poor living in Mumbai.”
The glitz and glamour of Mumbai cannot overwhelm or undermine policy reforms which are clearly directed at the ordinary citizen, middle class and slum dwellers, he added.
Outlining over two-dozen projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore undertaken by the government in the last two years, Fadnavis said, “Whether it is coastal road, Navi Mumbai Airport, Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, three new metro lines, elevated railway corridor from Churchagate to Virar and CST to Panvel, all are going to be a reality in a time-bound manner.”
On the 22 km MTHL stretch, the process of tender and work order is in place along with commitment for loan from Japan (JICA) for 40 years. In the first ten years it would be free of interest, and it will be 0.5 per cent thereafter. “We have completed the processes for building the coastal road and handed it over to BMC to begin the work process,” he said.