Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane on Wednesday said disputes and sharp ideological differences between the coalition partners will sooner or latter bring down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state before it can complete its full term.
Attacking the Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in Maharashtra, Rane said, “The coalition government in the most trying time of Covid-19 has neither displayed the ability to take firm decisions nor instil confidence among the people, which is very unfortunate, thus raising the obvious question. Where is the government? Who is leading it,” Rane asked.
“The state leadership is blaming everything on the Centre. Whether it relates to raising funds to addressing Covid-19 at home, they are seeking help from the Centre. Now, what stops them from exercising their own rights in decision-making or mobilising resources,” said Rane, a BJP MP in Rajya Sabha. “If you think everything rests with the Centre then why are you there. Let the Centre rule Maharashtra,” he said, while speaking at Loksatta’s web series ‘Sathicha Gazhal Maharashtracha’.
Rane expressed concern over rising Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra. “A state like Maharashtra, which has the financial capital Mumbai, cannot appear helpless. There are many avenues to mobilise resources and finances. What is stopping the state government from planning and executing decisions in the state…,” he said.
Citing the example of Kerala, Rane said, “Why should a leading industrial state like Maharashtra fail. It shows lack of decision-making.”
“Those at the helm have always displayed their pride for Mumbai. Then was it not obvious to put an effective plan for highly dense slums like Dharavi, Behrampada etc. What was the logic behind waiting for symptoms to initiate measures,” he added.
While expressing his gratitude to late Bal Thackeray, Rane conceded that he harbours no enmity towards anybody with the Thackeray surname. But he maintained that a coterie around Shiv Sena chief and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray conspired against him and forced his exit from his parent party, the Shiv Sena.
On his association with the Congress which he joined after leaving the Sena, Rane said, “Even now I share cordial relations with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. But there were some leaders in the Congress who always conspired against me and ensured I was not made CM, a post promised to me at least thrice by the party.” Rane, who is a new entrant in the BJP, said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working for the larger interest of the country and its people. It is a national party and I have earned respect from BJP leaders in the state and Centre.”
According to Rane, Modi’s lockdown decision has helped in containing coronavirus cases across the country. “And Modi will be able to override the economic crisis through better planning and implementation,” he said. He indicated that even within the Sena and Congress there are leaders and elected members with whom he retains cordial relationship.
The former CM said that the lockdown cannot be treated as a holiday. The government should take lax officials to task, he said. “Poor workers, migrants are not getting food. They are starving. There is no work. They have no medical care. There are pregnant women whom hospitals are refusing admission. Can the state government remain a mute spectator,” he asked.
“When workers return to their native villages, from where will the state government provide workforce required for industrial units’ operations. How will it revive the state’s economy,” he asked further. According to Rane, managing the migrants’ crisis was not impossible had the government taken up the challenges sincerely and worked with the right plan.