NCP leader and former deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar Thursday asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as to why the ruling party in the state was not keeping its poll promise of making Maharashtra toll-free.
In a tweet, Pawar said: “What happened to the promise of making Maharashtra toll- free? When the contract for collecting toll on expressway was ending in August 2019, the CMO by inviting tenders is again ready to collect toll. Why is the ruling party not fulfilling the promise?”
On Wednesday, The Indian Express had reported that the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation has invited tenders for appointing a private party for collection of toll on Pune-Mumbai Expressway. The decision has not gone down well with activists in Pune, who have reminded the chief minister of his promise to scrap the toll system on the expressway and other roads of the state.
The Sajag Nagrik Manch, which had approached the Bombay High Court on the toll issue, has slammed the ruling party. “This is beyond imagination. The Fadnavis government came to power after repeatedly promising the people of Maharashtra that it will do away with toll system. Fadnavis himself had promised to scrap the expressway toll collection,” said Vivek Velenkar, who heads the manch.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said: “As per our promise, we have shut more than 50 toll booths… As for a few of them, the matter is subjudice,” he said.
Ajit Pawar, who held a press conference in Sangvi Thursday, said that the upcoming Assembly elections should be held through ballot papers. “…Since there was one-sided result during Lok Sabha election, doubts about manipulation of EVMs have increased. The chip in the machines could be replaced… To remove doubts, the upcoming state elections should be conducted through ballot papers,” Pawar said.
In talks with each other’s MLAs: BJP, Cong
State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil on Thursday once again said that 10-12 MLAs from the Congress-NCP will join the BJP in a week or so. He had made the same claim a day before. “…In next week or so 10-12 MLAs will join the BJP as part of their plan to make Maharashtra Congress-free,” he said in Solapur.
Reacting to it, NCP leader Ajit Pawar said he has no idea who was joining the BJP, but said they were also in touch with leaders from the BJP-Sena. “If I knew who was joining them, I would have told you… We are also in touch with leaders from the BJP and Shiv Sena… A decision about them will be taken at the appropriate time,” he said.