Impossible, says NCP on Anant Hegde’s Rs 40,000 cr claim; Fadnavis agrees
Anant K Hegde, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s five-time MP from Karnataka, has come up with a bizarre theory around Devendra Fadnavis’s 80-hour-long stint as chief minister. Hegde claimed that Fadnavis’ record tenure of just a little over three days was designed to divert Rs 40,000 crore from the state treasury back to the central government, a claim that forced Fadnavis to stand in front of the television cameras to issue a firm denial.
“I deny the statement and reports that I returned money sent by the Centre to Maharashtra,” the former chief minister said.
Fadnavis, whose second term is the second shortest tenure of a chief minister in Maharashtra, said the state government’s role in the bullet train project was limited to acquiring land for the ambitious project.
The former chief minister also pointed that everyone who understood how funds move between the Centre and the states would realise that the statement was baseless. He did not name Anant K Hegde in his rebuttal.
“Anyone who understands how Central and state governments accounting systems work will not make such statements. The state finance department can probe this. I think those who make such statements and others who are giving reactions to them are both in the wrong,” Fadnavis said.
Also Watch l Devendra Fadnavis rejects Anant Hedge’s ‘40,000 crore’ remark
Fadnavis had hoped to have a longer stint when he quietly took oath as chief minister in a surprising turn of events on 23 November. He had the support of Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar. But his new partner - its pre-poll ally Shiv Sena had walked out on him over the chief minister’s chair - wasn’t able to get other NCP legislators to switch their loyalties.
Shiv Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray finally replaced him last week, in Maharashtra’s first-of-its kind partnership with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
Anant Hegde’s claim was so bizarre that the Nationalist Congress Party’s Nawab Malik appeared reluctant to believe it either.
“It is not possible,” Nawab Malik said. But he didn’t let the opportunity to jab the BJP and Fadnavis either. If it has happened, it exposes the BJP’s face, the NCP leader said as he attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded his resignation for the transfer of funds.
Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut was unforgiving. In a tweet, he flagged Anant Hedge’s comment that Fadnavis had moved the money to the Centre before mounting his attack. “This is treachery with Maharashtra,” he said, tagging chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s handle.
This isn’t the first time that Anant Hegde has embarrassed his party. Like when in 2017 he claimed that the BJP would amend the constitution to exclude secularism from the preamble. That row had led to a major uproar in parliament too.
Right ahead of the national elections this year, the BJP leader had tweeted in support of Pragya Singh Thakur over her comments describing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a patriot. He was then told by his party to delete the tweets.