Uddhav Thackeray dares Opposition to tumble his government, takes dig at BJP over Rajasthan

  • | Monday | 27th July, 2020

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray dared the Opposition to pull down his government and said that he was at the helm of the three-party Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray dared the Opposition to pull down his government and said that he was at the helm of the three-party Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.

In the last of the Shiv Sena chief’s two-part interview, which appeared in the party mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday, Thackeray said the fate of his government was not in the hands of the Opposition. “Some people get pleasure in constructive work, while some are happy with destructive work. They should go ahead and topple the government, I do not care,” he said.

Thackeray also called for an e-bhoomipujan of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya on August 5 to avoid crowding at the actual site. “Instead of putting so many lives in danger [owing to Covid-19], the laying of the foundation stone could be done online,” Thackeray said.

Speaking about the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, which has been a bone of contention between the state and Central government, the chief minister said that he would prefer to have the train running between Mumbai and Nagpur as it would be a “more beneficial route, but the decision would be made on the basis of people’s mandate”.

“My individual opinion or that of my party [on bullet train] could be different, but as a state, the government will take its decision at an appropriate time. The government decision will be based on the people’s mandate about the project and after discussing it with all stakeholders. If the people are against it, I will scrap the project,” he said.

About the Opposition’s criticism that his government is a “three-wheeled vehicle”, Thackeray said his government represents poor people. “If the choice is between bullet train and a three-wheeler, I will choose the latter, as it is the travelling mode of the poor people. It is a strong government and I am at the steering wheel with two other partners. The ones who have been raising questions about our ‘three-wheeler’ should look at the government at the Centre,” he said.

“How many parties are there as coalition partners? When I attended the NDA meeting last time, there were 30-35 leaders representing ruling parties. It should be called a ‘train’ government then,” said Thackeray.

He said there were no differences between the three parties although there was a lack of continuous dialogue owing to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Congress had some issues related to matters on public policies. After our meeting, they have been resolved. We have better co-ordination between us. I take guidance regularly from NCP chief Sharad Pawarsaheb and occasionally speak to Soniaji Gandhi,” said the chief minister.

Thackeray said it was not correct to say that the decision making is driven by bureaucracy.

“Our handling of Covid-19 pandemic, especially in Dharavi, has been applauded at the international level. I was chosen among popular chief ministers. If the bureaucracy was in the driving seat, why was the government praised and was it done by the bureaucracy without any control from the government? The government policies are after all implemented by officers and bureaucracy, and it is the government’s duty to stand firmly by efficient officers. I will support such officers,” he said.

Thackeray also took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for their alleged attempt to topple the Rajasthan government.

He said Operation Lotus would not reap any success in Maharashtra.

“It is strange that the use of money for political gain is not a crime and opponents are targeted using the central agencies. But this would not last for too long. They should also keep in mind that days keep passing by. They tried to topple the Rajasthan government, perhaps because there is no pandemic spread in that state or in Madhya Pradesh. The leader of Opposition [Devendra Fadnavis] criticised the Maharashtra government over the handling of Covid-19 during his Delhi visit, perhaps because the pandemic exists only in our state and not in Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh,” he said.

Thackeray said he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a uniform decision over the policy related to China.

“Our policies related to China should not be deviating like they differ in case of Pakistan. During troubled times, we boycott these countries and later after a few days extend an olive branch. During one of our interactions, I have requested Modiji to take a firm stand on China. Decide finally on trade with Chinese companies. We have put our memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with them [Chinese companies] on hold,” the CM said.

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