Some issues bound to be there among 3 allies: Maharashtra minister Nitin Raut
Maharashtra energy minister and senior Congress leader Nitin Raut says there is a certain level of dissatisfaction among his party colleagues over lack of consultation in the state cabinet. In an interview to HT, he says some of proposals put forth by Congress ministers are not cleared by the cabinet. However, Raut claimed that the MVA government is stable and will last its full term.
Q: There are reports of rift within the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). What do you have to say?
A: These are all baseless rumours. The coalition government is stable and will last its full five year term. There is clearly an attempt by the BJP to detabilise the government but they will miserably fail in their nefarious designs.
Q: But there are differences within the alliance. Privately, Congress ministers have been complaining about lack of consultation on important matters.
A: When three partners are running a government, some issues are bound to be there. We try to resolve them internally. Though the chief minister (Uddhav Thackeray) talks to us on some matters, we are not completely satisfied.
Q: Could you please elaborate that?
A: ‘Baat karne ke liye karte hain par kam ki baat jab hoti hai to kaam nahi hote hain (He talks to us but our work doesn’t happen). I mean the chief minister does consult us but majority of our proposals are not cleared and not even discussed in the cabinet.
Q: Did you discuss this with the chief minister?
A: Yes, we have expressed our unhappiness.
Q: And you have conveyed that to your party high command?
Q: Was Rahul Gandhi’s statement an expression of that resentment?
A: Rahulji is our leader. What he said is that Congress on its own is in power in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Puducherry and there we will not shy away from implementing any pro-poor or pro-people scheme. But we are a small partner in Maharashtra and we are not going to dictate terms to our other allies and we will not be able to fulfil all our promises. But that doesn’t mean that Rahul ji talked about pulling the government down. He meant that the alliance partners should address the shortcomings in the consultation process. A leader has to keep in mind the interests of his party and the workers.
Q: But Congress is also considered a weak link in the ruling alliance and reports suggest that some of its legislators might even desert the party and pull the plug on the government?
A: Congress has its own ideology and identity. All our legislators got elected on the basis of the party ideology and its strengths. I don’t think the BJP will break us.
Q: Did you consult NCP chief Sharad Pawar who is said to be an architect of this alliance?
A: Congress is a national and an independent party. We talk to our leaders and we will not go and express our displeasure before leaders of other parties. That will be inappropriate.
Q: BJP is demanding President’s rule in Maharashtra, saying the government has failed in containing the coronavirus in the state, especially Mumbai.
A: We are fighting a war against coronavirus. BJP talks failure in Maharashtra but the highest death rate in the country is in Gujarat. So, will they demand President’s rule there. The spike in coronavirus cases in Mumbai is because of the Namaste Trump event as hundreds of people came there from Ahmedabad. There is a conspiracy in destabilising the Maharashtra government. Their dream of toppling the government will never come true. Also, the increase in Covid cases is because Maharashtra is the only state that has done aggressive testing and also the recovery rate is much higher than other states.