Devendra Fadnavis observes fast with BJP, says no alternative to Modi as PM

Apr 12, 2018, 21:09 IST | mid-day online correspondent

"Don't worry, I will not have 'chole bhature'," he said, in an apparent reference to some Congress leaders who were "seen having food" before their fast on Monday in New Delhi

Devendra FadnavisMaharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said that there is no alternative to Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, as he, along with a number of BJP MPs and MLAs, observed a day-long fast here. The fast was observed by BJP leaders across the country on Modi's call to protest the washout of the recent Budget session of Parliament by opposition parties.

Fadnavis was joined by MPs Poonam Mahajan and Paresh Rawal, local MLAs Parag Alavani, Amit Satam and Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar during the fast at the party office in suburban Vile Parle. On the occasion, the chief minister hit out at the Congress and charged it with "murdering the democracy" by stalling the Budget session of Parliament. The Congress has no moral strength to face Parliament when the prime minister counters it, he told reporters.

"People know the contradictions of the opposition parties. They cannot stay together. What is the alternative to Modi in terms of policies, programmes and leadership? The opposition only wants power...," he said. He said the Congress has no moral strength to face Parliament when the prime minister counters it.

In a scathing attack on the Opposition, he said, "The BJP had to watch the murder of democracy by the Congress during the Budget session. Debate is an important aspect of Parliament. We may agree to disagree, but a discussion should be allowed." He alleged that it was a conspiracy "by the Congress and their friends" to disrupt Parliament because they are angry that people rejected them in 2014. "They took out that anger by disrupting Parliament," he said. He said "the Congress could not face Parliament" and hence was "spreading misinformation" against the BJP.

"The (Congress) party was the first to suspend democracy by imposing Emergency in 1975," he said. He alleged that most of the atrocities on Dalits took place during the Congress rule while "the Dalit and tribal entrepreneurship is being encouraged by the Modi government." Fadnavis said Modi is dedicated to the welfare of the people and the country. "Public hai, public sab jaanti hai (the public knows everything)," Fadnavis said. Fadnavis, while leaving the venue, said he was going to Nanded district for an official work. "Don't worry, I will not have 'chole bhature'," he said, in an apparent reference to some Congress leaders who were "seen having food" before their fast on Monday in New Delhi.

"Our struggle to preserve the democratic values will continue," Fadnavis said. A street play was performed in front of him, highlighting the government's work, like demonetisation, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jalyukt Shivar campaign (aimed at improving irrigation facilities in Maharashtra) and other welfare programmes for farmers. On the occasion, Rawal, an MP from Gujarat, said the Congress did not allow Parliament to function as it does not have any issue to raise. "We decided to forgo our salaries as the Congress did not allow Parliament to function. But, the Congress members have taken their salaries," he claimed.

Rawal mocked the Congress's fast on Monday as "farce" over some of its leaders "seen having food" before the protest. Kirit Somaiya, the BJP MP from North East Mumbai, sat on the protest near the Bhandup railway station.

"The Congress and other opposition parties did not allow Parliament to function for 23 days, and 17 important Bills were passed without debate. We wanted to discuss about the alleged bank scams of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, the non-performing assets (NPAs) of Rs 52 lakh crore, among other important issues," he said. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal observed the fast in neighbouring Thane city. He alleged that the Congress had "disgraced the Constitution" framed by Dr B R Ambedkar. "Ambedkar's hard and noble work has been disgraced by the Congress by not allowing Parliament to function," he said.

Edited by mid-day online desk, with inputs from IANS

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