‘Atal Bihari’s NDA had 33 parties, none found it unnatural’: Sena jabs BJP
On the BJP’s charge that the alliance of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress in Maharashtra is “unnatural and immoral”, Sena’s Sanjay Raut pointed to the coalition of 33 parties with different ideologies in the Atal Bihari-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Sena leader underscored how no one found that government “unnatural”.
“If we would not have had Covid-19, lockdown, floods, cyclone Nisarga, the government would have changed the picture of the state. We need to remember that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had 33 political parties onboard the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with different ideologies, and no one found that government unnatural,” asked Raut on the completion of the first anniversary of the Sena-led government in Maharashtra.
On Saturday, BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis attacked the Shiv Sena-led government, saying it had failed on all counts. He said the government had been unable to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, resolve farmers’ issues, and had made no progress on development projects.
Hitting back at the BJP, Raut said, several BJP leaders from Maharashtra have been saying the government will fall, but they are silent on how. They are keeping it as a secret, he said.
“They are dependent on central investigative agencies like that of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI. There are attempts to destabilise the government by using these agencies. Illegal construction and those who abet suicide are being shielded,” allged Raut.
The senior Sena leader said that the Madhya Pradesh pattern worked but the same failed in Rajasthan, referring to the defection of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has since joined the BJP and the collapse of Kamal Nath government, while Sachin Pilot whose spirited rebellion against Ashok Gehlot shook the party is still with the Congress.
“There is resentment in governments where there is a clear majority but here we have three political parties. There are ministers and MLAs in our alliance who have issues and the chief minister does resolve them,” Raut said.
Going into the details of government formation a year ago, Raut, a Rajya Sabha member, said Sharad Pawar was never into forging alliance with the BJP to form the government in the state and had no secret meetings with the then BJP chief Amit Shah. The meeting of top leaders from three parties at Nehru Centre on November 22, said Raut, witnessed tension between Pawar and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, after which the NCP chief left in a huff and Ajit Pawar went sulking minutes after it.
“There might be resentment in the government but it will survive. Though Ajit Pawar had gone ahead by taking oath as deputy chief minister under the BJP on November 23, 2019, but today he is a true pillar of strength and trust in the government,” Raut said in his weekly column in party mouthpiece Saamana.
Clarifying the rumours swirling around at the time, Raut said: “There was chatter regarding me meeting Sharad Pawar ji on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to discuss formation of our government, but I had been meeting Pawar ji very transparently.”
Raut said that Pawar told him NCP was getting offers from the BJP.
Raut said the government was formed a year ago on November 28, 2019 and has support from lakhs of citizens from the state. Despite the BJP and the Shiv Sena having 170 seats post-election results, the government was formed with help of other political parties.
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