Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday escalated the attack against the BJP government in Maharashtra over the drought situation.
At the end of two days tour to Marathwada and Konkan, Thackeray reopened his battle against the BJP government in centre and state. Thackeray spoke less on problems of crop losses and farmers plight and minced no words to take digs at BJP ministers and leaders.
Indicating the party’s renewed aggression against the BJP which is trying to reconcile and get them on board in the government.
To begin with Thackeray said, “Till a month ago there were battery of leaders who had parked themselves in Maharashtra. Now, where are they? Why have they disappeared? Why are they not seen and lending help to the farmers?” Why are the villages deserted?”
Thackeray’s reference was obvious to the central BJP leaders who came in large numbers during the assembly elections in state that saw BJP emerge as number one party overtaking Sena.
Not stopping there Thackeray also urged the governor C Vidjyasagar Rao to lead a MLAs delegation to drought hit areas in state. He said, “I appeal to the governor to visit the drought areas and personally see the situation. The governor should direct the state to take immediate measures.”
In a sharp rebuke, he said, “The government says we will conduct satellite study to find the crop damage and them give compensation. My question is why don’t the minister meet the people personally and help?”
In the last 24 hours, senior BJP leader and Minister for Revenue Eknath Khadse and Thackeray are engaged in an ugly war of words over the drought situation in the state. Khadse-Thackeray verbal duel which began on Monday continued Tuesday.
Earlier, Thackeray had condemned Khadse’s remark when he said farmers who can pay mobile phone bills should also pay electricity bills.
An angry Khadse on Tuesday said, “Thackeray should not give me lessons on farmers issues. I am son of a farmer. I have slogged in the
fields. I know what is farming.”
Whereas, Thackeray does not even know whether “sprouts’ grow above the soil or under the soil”, he chided.
“Thackeray has distorted my single sentence out of context and commented which is extremely unfortunate,” he said.
Thackeray whose not known to take criticism in stride replied, “Khadse is speaking like NCP leaders who were not sensitive to farmers problems. And soon people will teach them lesson.”
Interestingly, several Sena leaders also joined Thackeray is targeting Khadse. The leader of opposition Eknath Shinde said, “Khadse’s remark against farmers on power bills was extremely insensitive.” It shows they are going the same way as NCP, he added.
However, BJP decided not to aggravate the situation and left it to Khadse to give a befitting reply to Thackeray. A senior BJP spokesperson said, “Why should we join the Sena? They are exposing themselves by attacking the BJP on drought. The question is what are they doing to provide relief to the people who are affected by the drought.”
Another BJP minister said, “Shiv Sena is deliberately trying to provoke us with such criticism. Now, it was Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who held a marathon meeting where we declared ‘agriculture drought’ in state. The chief minister appraised the situation to Union Minister Radhamohan Singh. The state government got Rs 653 crore package for the farmers from the Centre.
The minister said, “Thackeray was not even aware of the situation till a fortnight ago. It was only after government’s initiative they woke up.” And at the end of two days tour, they are politicising the drought in state which is most disgusting, he added.