Keeping up the pressure on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government, a delegation of Shiv Sena ministers met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday night to give him a memorandum demanding a loan waiver for farmers.
Their reasoning was that if the BJP could promise a loan waiver for farmers in its manifesto for the Uttar Pradesh polls, the same move could be implemented in Maharashtra, where farmers have been suffering over the past few years owing to an agrarian crisis caused by drought and unseasonal rain.
The Shiv Sena has been in support of the opposition’s demand for a farm loan waiver in the state, while the BJP has consistently maintained that this is not the answer. Instead, it has undertaken steps such as reorganising farmers’ loans, improving soil moisture and so on for a more permanent solution.
Devendra Fadnavis assured the ministers that he would listen to their demands, but said the poll code of conduct prevented him from acting on the issue immediately.
Amid uncertainty over how long the Shiv Sena might continue to support the state government after the party snapped ties with its former ally, the ministers said they carried their resignation letters in their pockets while meeting Fadnavis at his residence.
However, they did not submit their letters to the chief minister, stating that they would only resign if the party chief asked them to. Transport minister Diwakar Raote said, “We are all carrying our resignation letters and are only awaiting orders from the Shiv Sena chief.” He flashed his resignation letter, signed and sealed, before reporters.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said a decision on whether his party will continue to support the BJP-led government will be taken only after the civic polls, as he needs time to assess the situation.