CITING a “non-functioning government” (sthagiti sarkar) and “insult” to freedom fighter Veer Savarkar by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the Opposition BJP in Maharashtra boycotted the traditional tea party thrown by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on the eve of the Winter Session beginning here on Monday.
Former chief minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis indicated that the Opposition would corner the government on issues of relief to farmers and “insult” to Savarkar.
“We will press for nothing less than an apology by Rahul Gandhi as he has insulted a staunch patriot like Savarkar, who was twice sentenced to rigorous imprisonment in Andaman prison. We have no interest in attending the tea party with people who have insulted Savarkar,” Fadnavis said, addressing mediapersons here on Sunday.
He hit out at Shiv Sena’s reaction to Rahul’s remark, saying “the Shiv Sena, which till recently swore by Savarkar, is now indulging in bartering of Savarkar’s honour for that of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru. Gandhi and Nehru must be honored too. But Savarkar must be honored unconditionally. I am amazed how the Shiv Sena can become so desperate for power.”
Fadnavis also cited a “non-functioning government” for boycotting the tea party. “Despite 21 days having passed after government formation, the government remains on paper with no cabinet expansion as of yet. Let alone taking any new decision, this government has, on the contrary, gone about stopping developmental works initiated by the previous government, which has created a lot of resentment among the people and hurt investment sentiment,” he said.
“No decision has been taken regarding allotment of departments to the ministers due to discord among the three ruling partners. So, the questions are, who has to be questioned and who will be answerable? All this shows that the government isn’t serious about transacting business during the session,” he said.
Fadnavis alleged that the government is spreading falsehood about the economic condition of the state. “They are putting out figures of debt burden on the state by mixing non-budgetary loans with budgeted ones. The debt burden on the state is just 15.8 per cent of the GDP, nearly 10 per cent less than the permissible 26 per cent. This is just an attempt to create excuses not to do any of the big things they had demanded and promised,” he said.
Terming the government as “sthagiti sarkar”, Fadnavis said, “We are ready to give this government time, but they must spell out what they are going to do about giving relief to farmers, how and when are they going to give complete loan waiver to farmers as promised. They must say by when they are going to complete the review of the projects they have stayed, are they going to refund the money taken under contracts that have been tendered and, if yes, by when. We will use all available legislative tools to aggressively put across all issues in the legislature.”
Asked if he will help the government in securing aid for farmers from the Centre, Fadnavis said, “Let them discuss it with us. We will certainly do that.”