Mumbai: As Maharashtra’s Devendra Fadnavis government completed three years in office today, his often prickly ally the Shiv Sena said it backed him for the post with a “large heart” but was not to blame if people thought “bed bugs” should have occupied his chair. Fadnavis said yesterday the Shiv Sena must realise that it cannot play the role of a ruling party and opposition simultaneously, in somewhat rare attack by the chief minister on the BJP’s long-time ally which has been routinely critical of both the state government and the Modi dispensation. “We had a large heart to support your chair for the state to go ahead and have ‘achhe din’ (good days), at least in Maharashtra.
But the Sena is not responsible if people think it would have been better for bed bugs to occupy your chair,” an editorial in the Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said. The Shiv Sena mouthpiece also accused Fadnavis of speaking “lies” about his ally. “Either not a single development work was undertaken or you are speaking white lies (sic) against the Sena,” said the editorial.
It said people of the state were not happy and “distrusted” those in power. “The chief minister says the Sena created obstacles in the path of development. If that were true, what was he doing as the chief minister? He should not have let anybody who stalls development to be near him,” the editorial said. It said power needed to be exercised more for public welfare than politics, and wanted to know if that had happened in the last three years. The Sena mouthpiece also took a dig at Fadnavis over Sharad Pawar’s NCP having extended support to it when there was a fractured mandate after the assembly elections, which the two saffron allies fought separately.
“Tomorrow who will be with you during polls has to be decided by you. Even if the Sena is not with you, you have already decided to take the support of those who have been accused of irrigation scams,” it said, in an obvious reference to the NCP some of whose leaders are facing probe over graft allegations. The NCP had offered its outside support to the Fadnavis government, saying it was for “stability” after no party had a majority in the state Aassembly. The BJP and Shiv Sena, however, later joined hands and formed a coalition government. The Sena sought to know if it was a crime on its part to have stood with farmers during their agitation demanding minimum support price for their produce, and for farm loan waiver. It alleged unemployment had increased after the note ban and the roll-out of the GST upped inflation.
The chief minister has spoken about the exceptional work being done in the areas of skill development, employment generation, foreign investments, education, women and child development and law and order. If all these were achieved in the last three years, how can he say that the Sena created roadblocks in the path of development, the editorial asked.