Uddhav Thackeray said when GST came we raised some of the issues through BMC(PTI)
Uddhav Thackeray said when GST came we raised some of the issues through BMC(PTI)

BJP attacked my family... I’ve not stooped to their level, says Uddhav

Uddhav Thackeray said we need a plan as there are five companies making vaccines and so far there is no clarity on anything.
By Swapnil Rawal | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON NOV 28, 2020 06:08 AM IST

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray completed a year in office as head of a Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on Friday. It has been a torrid year, with political attacks by his former ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, a health crisis in the form of Covid, which laid Maharashtra low, and poor relations with the Centre. On Friday Thackeray, 60, spoke to reporters on a range of issues. Edited excerpts:

On predictions by the state BJP that his government will fall

Let them keep predicting; they are busy and happy. I do not want to spoil that. The time in which we are running the government is different (because of the pandemic). The world has faced such a situation after a century. Whoever was running the government before did not face such difficulties.

On co-operation from the Centre

Even though the party or ideology of people running the government is important, it is the duty of the government either at the Centre or in the state to work impartially. From September, the Centre stopped the supply of things such as PPE kits and N-95 masks. This led to an increase in the state’s financial burden by around Rs 250-300 crore. Also, the GST and tax devolution dues of around Rs 38,000 crore are still pending with the Centre. We also did not receive any cooperation in handling natural calamities such as the Nisarga cyclone, the floods in Vidarbha, and incessant rainfall.

On a Covid vaccine

We need a plan as there are five companies making vaccines. What temperature does it have to be stored at? How many doses are required? So far there is no clarity on anything.

On GST

When GST came we raised some of the issues through BMC . Mumbai, for instance, has a special status in terms of the scale of tax it generates. Therefore Mumbai should get additional help to further develop the city. If there are any lacunae in GST, it should be fixed to make it a foolproof system. If this is not possible, then the old tax regime should be brought back. If by centralising something, justice is not given to all (states) then what is the point of doing it.

On the states finances

During the budget session (in 2019), the Covid-19 started spreading in the state, so we had to curtail it (the session). While everything was shut, the Maharashtra government signed memorandums of understanding worth 50,000 crore. We have decided to target investment worth 1 lakh crore in one year. It is important to note that though the wheels [of economic activities] slowed down, they have not stopped. We will see the fruits of our efforts in the coming days.

On his government’s achievements

We started with a decision on developing Raigad district and allocated funds for this. Another big decision was a farm loan waiver up to 2 lakh crore. Whatever promises we made, we have nearly fulfilled all of them. The farm loan waiver was a big decision. We don’t make announcements of doubling and tripling farmers income or say acche din aayenge.

On heading a government as opposed to running it by remote control

Running government through remote control is a separate thing. Here three parties are there and the government runs by a coalition.

On reports that PM Narendra Modi is upset with him because his intervention in helping Thackeray become a legislative council member hasn’t been acknowledged

Such discussions are pointless. I do not want to waste time on such topics.

On a tussle with the governor who has still not cleared nomination of 12 candidates to the upper house of state legislature

We had requested him to do it at the earliest. Like reopening of temples (the Governor had written to Thackeray on this) we expect him to take fast decisions on these matters related to democracy as well.

On being seen as standing up to the BJP and Modi

No, that is never my intention. I work passionately and speak on issues passionately. I never make personal attacks or speak with malicious intent. Like they have attacked my family with vengeance… When we were with them we were good to them, we used to campaign for them without which their ballot boxes would not fill up. Now see the manner in which they are attacking our family and perverted tendency of their politics. I have not stooped to their level and attacked them.

On his relation with Devendra Fadnavis who called Thackeray his elder brother ahead of the elections last year

That time you (Fadnavis) did not see brother’s janam kundali? Now you realised it? We have your kundalis as well.

On relief for people from inflated electricity bills

Firstly, using the word inflated bill is incorrect because during lockdown [physical] metre readings were not done. Average bill of three months was sent to consumers. Everybody thought that the average bill that came was high, including me. I want to say here that there was no increase in tariff. Wherever there are complaints, it is being checked and I am told that once the metres are checked people do understand that this is an average bill as per their [past] usage. Even then, if people have complaints, they are being attended to. Do not mislead people with the use of the word ‘inflated’. The pending recoveries are worth 60,000 crore. We are not getting much help from the Centre, our dues are not coming from the Centre, and we are facing a financial crisis.

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