Maharashtra’s ruling ally Shiv Sena on Monday launched a scathing attack on its partner BJP for increasing price rates and unresolved farmer issues. It also hinted at breaking the alliance. “Unprecedented price rise, farmer issues unresolved. We are not responsible and don’t want to share the blame. Whether we will stay in Government or withdraw, this will be decided soon,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut was quoted as saying by ANI.
The party which has been at loggerheads with BJP over multiple issues, alleged that those without any merit or connect with the people are at the helm of power. It also hit out at new union minister K.J. Alphons who recently said that “those who can afford high prices of petrol and diesel are not starving”, saying that his remarks are an ‘insult’ to the poor and middle class. Saying that hiked fuel prices was the main reason behind the farmer suicides in the country, the party called out Alphons for making “such highly irresponsible utterances.”
In an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, the party said, “This Navratna (Jewel) in the cabinet is justifying the steep high prices of fuel because he has never paid for it from his pocket. This is like spitting on the face of the poor who were not humiliated to such an extent even during the Congress rule.” It also reminded BJP of how its ministers Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and Sushma Swaraj hit the streets to protest the hike in fuel prices during Congress’ regime. “Today, the nation is experiencing what happens when people having no merit and connect with the masses enter the government and rule the nation,” the Sena said.
“A major reason behind the thousands of farmers’ deaths in Maharashtra and elsewhere in the country is due to steep hike in fuel prices. There is the regular ‘shock of load-shedding’, so they have to depend on diesel-run generators for agriculture. Then, they are required to shell out higher prices for transportation of their farm produce to the distant markets. Many farmers simply can’t afford to pay all these high costs and hence resort to committing suicide,” the editorial added.
The party also criticised the bullet train project, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week in Gujarat. “It would have been better if the money being spent on bullet train is utilised to bring down the inflation. But, those indulging in ‘chamchagiri’ (sycophancy) by saying that those buying fuel don’t go hungry are killing the ‘achhe din’ everyday,” it added.
The editorial also alleged that the nation is plagued with inflation and unemployment. “At such a time if anybody praises the bullet train, they should be sent to a mental hospital for examination of their state of mind,” the Sena said.
(With input from agencies)