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Sunday, May 29, 2022

On Fadnavis’s Sunday rally table: Hindutva, power crisis, unemployment, corruption

An aide to the former Maharashtra chief minister denies the rally was planned to counter Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s rally at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex on Saturday and says it is not aimed at engaging the Shiv Sena in a mindless tu tu mein mein.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: May 14, 2022 6:27:50 pm
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis during a rally at Somaiya ground, in Mumbai, Sunday, May 1, 2022. (PTI Photo)

The Maharashtra BJP is putting its best foot forward to make Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis’s rally at Goregaon, a suburb of Mumbai, a grand show. The party is preparing to take the Maha Vikas Aghadi government head-on raising the emotive plank of Hindutva as well as corruption and misgovernance allegations at the Sunday rally.

“Fadnavis’s rally is not aimed at engaging the Shiv Sena in a mindless tu tu mein mein. He wants to highlight core issues and challenges confronting the 12 crore people living in Maharashtra,” said a close aide to the former chief minister. “The central point of his speech will be the ‘total apathy’ of the MVA government towards common man’s problems,” the aide added, listing out the crises in agricultural and power sectors, drought in Marathwada, and growing unemployment as some of the issues.

The aide denied that the rally was planned to counter Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s rally at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex on Saturday. “The date of the BJP rally was decided well in advance,” he said.

At the BJP’s May 1 public rally at Somaiya Grounds in Mumbai, Fadnavis had said, “Today I am just touching up on some issues. But watch out for the May 15 rally.”

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Sources said Fadnavis would try to corner Uddhav Thackeray by comparing him with the late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi’s visit to Aurangzeb’s tomb at Khuldabad, the Sena’s stand on the Hanuman Chalisa row and alleged police excesses in temples post the loudspeaker curbs are some of the issues the BJP leader is expected to raise to hammer home the Hindutva plank, they said.

MLA Ashish Shelar, one of the organisers of the rally, said Bal Thackeray had given a clarion call to change the name of Aurangabad into Sambhajinagar. “The day the Shiv Sena joined hands with the Congress and the NCP to form a government in Maharashtra, it kept Hindutva on the back burner,” he said. “What matters to them is power at any cost. All the crucial issues that were at the heart of Balasaheb’s politics are now things of the past.”

According to former agriculture minister Anil Bonde, when Fadnavis was chief minister between 2014 and 2019, Maharashtra established its leadership across all sectors. “The state saw highest-ever investments in agriculture, in terms of crop loans, crop insurance and irrigation projects. Crop loans were at their peak, at Rs 30,000 crore.” “The MVA government has made huge promises but failed to implement even the basics like giving crop loss compensation. Even after two years, the farmers are still to receive compensation for crop loss from 2020,” the BJP leader alleged.

Former energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said the power crisis was the state government’s own making. “Better planning and administration would have helped to avert such a power crisis. People and farmers are paying the price,” the BJP leader said. He also alleged the government had failed the people on the Maratha reservation issue as well.

The BJP has constituted a team of leaders such as Mangal Prabhat Lodha, MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar and Shelar to plan the rally.

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