Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has denied accusations that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants 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 respond to a perception that the BJP is indulging in politics in the center of a pandemic?
The BJP will not be playing politics. [Congress leader] Rahul Gandhi gives statements everyday blaming the Centre government to conceal the failures of his very own government [in Maharashtra]… this is called politics. We are trying to help the government. The central government is also seeking 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 generally do not need the main objective on coronavirus because 37% from the positive cases are from Maharashtra and 41% of your deaths occurred here… There are no beds in hospitals, no ambulances, folks are dying about the roads.
Does the BJP want the President’s rule?
…we certainly have not demanded the President’s rule. The BJP does not want to make up the government; this may not be the right time. It is more significant to combat the pandemic. We wish to focus on helping the farmers, poor and use all of our energy to help people. I do not think it is now time whenever we should imagine changing the federal government…
Could you possibly elaborate on your own 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 has been diametrically opposite to that of Congress and the NCP [Nationalist Congress Party]. Sharad Pawar [NCP? chief] had often times manufactured factions in the Sena. Just in the interest of forming a government, they already have combine. Although the ideological and cultural differences will not likely permit them to cope with each other.
Provides the BJP, with 105 MLAs from the assembly reached over to the state government to offer you any suggestions? Or what is the complete breakdown in talks?
We have now been insisting that this chief minister should call an all party meeting. Including the Prime Minister has held two thus far. For a couple of months there is 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 talked about the plight in the farmers through the lockdown and how their Kharif crop must be procured. Did nothing, though the CM had assured us. 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 is not decisive and is also fearful of taking decisions. Could this be a comment up against the CM or even the entire MVA?
During such times you need an incredibly assertive political leadership that must lead in the front. You have to take bold decisions, there will be times when your decisions will be criticised, but if you feel those are in the interest of the state then you should not be afraid of taking bold decisions.
In Maharashtra you will notice that entire state is run by bureaucracy. Everybody is acting by themselves. In such a situation, it is simply the political leadership that may bring cohesiveness within the government in order that it can function correctly. The primary responsibility is of the chief minister, although ultimately it is the entire government.
Last week you said the Maharashtra government does not even have a arrange for reviving economic activity. Do you know the other areas in which you think the government has failed?
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, a I had suggested to the CM that.
Allow them to visit a conclusion on how much might be restarted. Although lockdown is important, it should not be a lasting policy in the government; this is a measure to regulate the pandemic, the insurance policy of your government should be an exit policy. Wherever possible we have to save and create jobs because it will have a bigger toll on our Maharashtra and economy being an economically progressive state, will be more affected.
Looking back do think the ability sharing negotiations with all the Sena could have been handled better?
That is now previously. There is absolutely no price of ifs and buts in politics. We need to now face the truth we would be the opposition and we want to play in the role of a constructive opposition.