Uddhav Thackeray pushes Maharashtra’s BJP govt again on farm loans
MUMBAI CITY NEWS: Shiv Sena chief announces campaign; gives veiled threat to pull out of government if demand to waive off farmers’ loan is not acceptedmumbai Updated: May 30, 2017 09:47 IST
While announcing the Shiv Sena’s campaign for a farm loan waiver in Maharashtra, party chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday launched a scathing attack against ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis over the issue. Thackeray, who addressed a rally of farmers in Nashik, gave a veiled threat of pulling out of the government if his demand to waive off farmers’ loan is not accepted. The aggression with which the Sena is targeting the BJP, coupled with the personal attack on Fadnavis does not bode well for the future of the saffron alliance.
Addressing the farmers, Thackeray said his party would give unconditional support to the government if it grants a farm loan waiver. “Give a loan waiver and all the Sena ministers will vacate their seats and will give unconditional outside support. If the waiver is announced, we will ensure the government completes its full term,” Thackeray said.
The Sena’s campaign comes at a time when the Congress-NCP-led Opposition is stepping up its attack on the issue, demanding loans of more than Rs30,000 crore taken by farmers be written off. This also signals the end of a brief spell of cordial relations between the two ruling allies weeks after Thackeray participated in a meeting of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP’s unconditional support to the Sena to win power in the Mumbai civic body. For the past few days, the Sena has started targeting Fadnavis. Significantly, Fadnavis has taken a stand that a farm loan waiver cannot be a permanent solution to end farmers’ woes.
The Sena organised the rally in Nashik, where farmers from the adjoining 140 villages took part to protest various issues from farm loan waivers to acquisition of farmland for the construction of the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway. All Sena MPs and legislators were present at the rally. Member of Parliament Raju Shetti, a key ally of the BJP from Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, was also present at the rally. Thackeray said he will personally lead a march for a farm loan waiver with his party in Mumbai this July.
Thackeray also launched a personal attack on the chief minister and said when Fadnavis was in the Opposition, he demanded a loan waiver for farmers, but after coming to power, he has transformed himself into a studious and sincere student who keeps studying issues. Thackeray’s taunt was prompted by Fadnavis’ response when the Opposition demanded he follow Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to announce a farm loan waiver immediately after he took over as CM. The Fadnavis had replied saying the government would study the UP government’s decision.
The Sena chief said nothing had changed in Maharashtra in the two-and-a-half years since the BJP-led government came to power.
“We don’t know if we have an opposition in the state. We have been asked many times why are we opposing even though we are in the government. Our commitment is to the society and farmers,” Thackeray said.
Attacking the government over the import of Tur daal, Thackeray demanded action against ‘tur daal import scam’. “There was a bumper production of tur daal, so why did the government import tur? Whose brain came up with this idea? There should be a thorough investigation in tur import scam,” he demanded.
Earlier in the day, the Sena targeted CM Fadnavis’ pet project, the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway called Maharashtra Prosperity Corridor in its mouthpiece, criticising the way the farmers were being made to give their land for the same.
“The Prosperity Corridor is the dream project of Chief Minister Fadnavis. Why isn’t his dream project to prevent the death of farmers?” asked the editorial, which is regarded as opinion of the Sena chief.