New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tonight said he plans to carry out expansion of the state cabinet after Bihar assembly polls, sending a strong message that there was "no threat" to his year-old government despite the bickering with ally Shiv Sena.
Projecting a picture of "all is well" in the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the chief minister made a direct attack on Sena leader Sanjay Raut, the Executive Editor of party mouthpiece 'Saamana', which has been highly critical of the BJP, and especially the chief minister.
With the Sena-BJP severing ties for the Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation polls, Fadnavis said the saffron alliance will contest the prestigious BMC polls together.
"There is no threat to my government... Cabinet expansion may take place after Bihar assembly polls. We will also contest the BMC polls in 2017 together as an alliance," the chief minister said.
Seeking to drive home the point that everything is fine in the alliance, he said the fact that the decisions at the Cabinet meeting as late as yesterday were taken in unanimity without any bickering or tension.
Singling out Raut for attack, the chief minster said, "We go by the what party leadership says, and not the newspaper ('Saamana'). It is the habit of Sanjay Raut (of attacking the government). Party view is what the party eadership says. No party speaks through editorial."
"You cannot take a different stand now. During the UPA's regime you (Raut) visit Pakistan and accept their hospitality. And now you cannot change your stand," he said, debunking the Sena leaders attack on the government for allowing release of Mahmood Kasuri's book.
"We will give appropriate response at an appropriate time," the Chief Minister said when asked about Raut's attack on the Prime Minister in which he had said that Narendra Modi was known for Godhra riots.
Despite the Supreme Court vacating the stay on an act banning the dance bars, the Chief Minister said that the state government has a "good case" and all political parties have always been together on the issue.
"It is not that since the stay has been vacated on the operation of the Act, the dance bars will start operating from tomorrow. We have a good case. We have a lot of scope and the government can regulate (them)," he said.
He brushed aside questions on the issue of formation of a separate state of Vidarbha when asked whether Maharashtra would be bifurcated, a year ahead of the assembly polls in the state.
He said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's controversial statement on the reservation issue has been wrongly interpreted. "We still need reservation as we have not attained the equity and equality so that we can do without it. Conditions are still not suited to rethink on the policy of reservation," he said.
The Chief Minister, whose government will complete one year on October 31, said that his government planned "no celebration", but "there will be communication".
He also brushed aside a question on whether NCP of Sharad Pawar was his "stress reliever" in the wake of constant pinpricks by the Shiv Sena.
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