CM Devendra Fadnavis begins Maharashtra tour ahead of Assembly elections
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday launched his ‘Mahajanadesh Yatra’ from Mozri in Amravati district of Vidarbha, 680km from Mumbai, promising a drought-free Maharashtra if his government gets a second tenure after the Assembly polls. Mozri houses the samadhi of poet-saint and social reformer Tukdoji Maharaj.
During the yatra, the chief minister will travel through 150 Assembly constituencies in 32 districts, covering a distance of 4,384km. The mass outreach tour, which will be carried out in a specially designed van, is aimed at cementing Fadnavis’s position as the tallest leader in the state and creating a buzz in his favour before the code of conduct for elections is announced. It was flagged off by defence minister Rajnath Singh, in the presence of his entire cabinet and state chief Chandrakant Patil.
“I have no doubt that we will return to power with a massive mandate. I am not worried about that. What concerns me is the cycle of droughts that our state faces. We have launched a successful scheme like the Jalyukta Shivar to minimise the impact of drought, but in the next five years, I will ensure that the state is completely drought-free,” said Fadnavis.
“Vidarbha, Marathwada, drought-prone areas of north and western Maharashtra will not face water scarcity. Our next generation will not face the brunt of drought. I will get the water from western Maharashtra that goes waste in these regions. I will ensure our farmers lead better lives,” he added.
The 24-day tour is aimed at giving people an account of his government’s performance in the past five years. In his public rally, one of the 87 planned through the trip, the CM contrasted the work done by his government in five years against his predecessors’ in the past 15 years. For instance, the CM pointed out that as opposed to ₹20,000 crore relief given to farmers by the Congress-NCP government in 15 years, his government had given a relief of ₹50,000 crore in just five years.
“I can say that no other state in the history of free India has been able to build 30,000km of roads in rural areas, like we did. Our state ranked fifth in industrial and foreign direct investment in 2014, it now ranks number one. We were 18th in education five years ago, now we rank third,” he said, to drive home his point.
In his address, Fadnavis also made it clear that only genuine Opposition leaders with a clean image were being inducted into the party ahead of the elections. “There is a long queue of leaders wanting to join our party. We are giving entry to only those who have clean image. We have told the tainted leaders that the BJP house is full now and they cannot be accommodated,” he quipped.
Fadnavis did not speak about his ally, Shiv Sena, on day one of his tour, although he had made it clear a day earlier that the BJP and Sena would contest polls together and refuted speculation that his party was planning to contest the upcoming election on their own strength. He also spelt out that the BJP and Sena would formalise seat-sharing details in the coming fortnight.