The divide between ruling allies Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was out in the open again on Friday. The Sena came down heavily on the Devendra Fadnavis-led government over the issue of farmer suicides in the state, particularly in Vidarbha.
In an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana, the party targeted Fadnavis and finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, both of whom are from Vidarbha, over the five farmers who committed suicides in 24 hours recently because of their inability to pay off debts.
“Ironically, while CM Fadnavis was busy in Davos laying a red carpet for industrialists worldwide to come to Maharashtra, farmers from his land drank poison and killed themselves,” the editorial said. The views expressed in the editorial are seen as those of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
This is the second time within a week the Sena targeted its ally, both in the state and at the Centre, where it occupies ministerial positions. Uddhav had made a statement on January 23, saying he will not stop himself from targeting the BJP if it treats people unjustly.
The editorial goes on to say how the people of Vidarbha, especially the farmers, are feeling a sense of betrayal because of the false promises given to them. “The previous government was unjust to the farmers, and so they were shunted out of Vidarbha. The people voted in large numbers for the BJP and put their faith in them. But now who is to answer them,” it said.
It went on to target Mungantiwar, who is from Chandrapur, saying he has not been able to curb suicides. “The finance minister is from Vidarbha and yet the situation is so grim. Farmers who have no money are buying poison to end their lives. The minister announced the total prohibition of liquor in Chandrapur. With that he should have also announced a ban on farmer suicides,” the editorial said.