Updated: May 24, 2022 4:38:57 pm
Maharashtra Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would launch two statewide agitations demanding the restoration of OBC (other backward class) reservation in local body polls and a cut in value-added tax (VAT) on fuels by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Addressing the BJP’s state executive meeting at party headquarters in Mumbai, Fadnavis said: “I strongly believe there is a larger design not to restore OBC reservation in local bodies in Maharashtra. The lack of political will to restore the OBC reservation is part of that plot orchestrated within the MVA (alliance). Or else why did the MVA (government) fail to complete the triple test in the last two years?”
Reiterating the BJP’s demand, Fadnavis said: “We will launch a statewide agitation to give justice to OBCs. The OBC is in the BJP’S DNA. It is our breath. We will not relent till the OBC quota is restored.”
Comparing Madhya Pradesh, where local body polls were cleared by the Supreme Court, and Maharashtra, Fadnavis said: “The Shivraj Singh Chauhan government in Madhya Pradesh implemented Supreme Court directives. They carried out triple tests complete with empirical data and restored the OBC reservation in local bodies whereas the Maharashtra government in the last two-and-half years wasted time. They have not even started the process of (collecting) empirical data. It took them over two years to constitute a state backward commission. The commission could not function as the government did not provide it proper infrastructure nor required funds.”
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On the issue of fuel prices, though the Maharashtra government on Sunday slashed the VAT on petrol by Rs 2.08 per litre and diesel by Rs 1.44 per litre, Fadnavis said that it has failed to reduce the taxes. “The reduction of tax by Rs 10 on petrol and 7 on diesel by the Centre has caused a financial burden to the tune of Rs 2.20 lakh crore. Yet the Modi government went ahead to lower the taxes to provide relief to people. Unfortunately, the MVA government in Maharashtra has refused to reduce the VAT. The reduction of Rs 2.50 per litre which it boasts is also an impact of the Centre’s decision,” he said.
Fadnavis also urged the party workers to strive for expansion. “The BJP is the single-largest party. But it is not enough to consolidate gains without working on an expansion strategy. We have to reach out to those segments in society which remain away from the BJP. We should explain the welfare schemes undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and their benefit to the larger public.”
He also said that a “smart foreign policy” has earned India a prime place globally and boosted exports. “In 2012-13, the country’s export was only four billion dollars. Today, it is 83 billion dollars. This alone has opened up new employment avenues and led to employment generation with a robust ecosystem. Even in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, India’s leadership and views are sought,” he said.
“At a time when developed nations like the US and European countries are fighting inflation, India is placed in a much better situation. The Modi government took quick decisions. PM Modi showed the vision to deal with oil purchases from Russia and banned the export of wheat to ensure prices remain steady in domestic markets,” Fadnavis said.
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