Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has denied accusations how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wishes to topple Maharashtra’s Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. In the telephone interview with Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Fadnavis spoke regarding the issue. Edited excerpts:
How does one react to a perception the BJP is indulging in politics during a pandemic?
The BJP will not be playing politics. [Congress leader] Rahul Gandhi gives statements everyday blaming the Centre government to cover the failures of his own government [in Maharashtra]… this is called politics. We are attempting to assist the government. The central government is also attempting to help. It provides given them Rs 28,000 crore… They want to set different narratives, i blame the Congress and MVA government for playing politics because they have no control over the spread of the coronavirus and therefore.
They do not need the target on coronavirus because 37% from the positive cases are from Maharashtra and 41% from the deaths occurred here… You can find no beds in hospitals, no ambulances, people are dying about the roads.
Does the BJP want the President’s rule?
…we certainly have not demanded the President’s rule. The BJP fails to wish to constitute the government; this may not be the right time. It is actually more important to fight the pandemic. We should center on helping the farmers, poor and use all of our energy to help people. I really do not think this is the time once we should imagine changing the federal government…
Can you elaborate in your statement that the government will fall due to the internal contradictions?
three parties coming together is within itself a contradiction. The ideological look at the Shiva Sena is diametrically opposite to that of Congress as well as the NCP [Nationalist Congress Party]. Sharad Pawar [NCP? chief] had frequently manufactured factions within the Sena. Just with regard to forming a government, they may have combine. However the cultural and ideological differences is not going to let them cope collectively.
Provides the BJP, with 105 MLAs inside the assembly reached out to the state government to supply any suggestions? Or is there a complete breakdown in talks?
We have been insisting that this chief minister should call an all party meeting. Even Prime Minister has held two up to now. For just two months there was no meeting. Finally, meeting, where the CM joined through video conferencing was called and we gave constructive suggestions on how to plan the exit strategy from the lockdown, on how to revive the economy, and how to create more health infrastructure.
We also talked about the plight from the farmers during the lockdown and just how their Kharif crop ought to be procured. The CM had assured us, but did nothing. I don’t see any response, though i spoke to him on the phone and regularly write letters. However, I will keep on writing and giving suggestions. In Maharashtra they are not able to even taken along their partners much less the opposition, even though it is the duty of the ruling party to take everyone along.
You said the MVA government will not be decisive and is fearful of taking decisions. Is this a comment from the CM or even the entire MVA?
During such times you need a really assertive political leadership that must lead from the front. If you feel those are in the interest of the state then you should not be afraid of taking bold decisions, although you have to take bold decisions, there will be times when your decisions will be criticised.
In Maharashtra you will see that entire state is run by bureaucracy. Everyone is acting independently. In such a situation, it is simply the political leadership that could bring cohesiveness inside the government so it can function in the right way. The primary responsibility is of the chief minister, although ultimately it is the entire government.
A week ago you said the Maharashtra government fails to also have a arrange for reviving economic activity. What are the other areas that you think government entities has failed?
A I had suggested to the CM that if we want to restart the economy– and it is the right time to do so– we form a team of stakeholders in every sector and also include people from the health sector to form protocols to restart businesses and industry.
Let them go to a conclusion how much might be restarted. Although lockdown is needed, it can not be a lasting policy in the government; it really is a measure to manipulate the pandemic, the insurance plan of your government must be an exit policy. Wherever possible we have to save and create jobs because it will have a bigger toll on our economy and Maharashtra being an economically progressive state, will be more affected.
Looking back do think the strength sharing negotiations with the Sena might have been handled better?
Which is now before. There is absolutely no importance of buts and ifs in politics. We must now face the truth that we are definitely the opposition and we would like to play in the role of a constructive opposition.