Uddhav Thackeray: People will know very soon who makes the chief minister

Updated: Nov 04, 2019, 07:13 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

As both BJP and Sena begin public outreach to distressed farmers, political games continue behind the scenes

CM Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday, on his way to rain-affected areas. Pics/ Satej Shinde
CM Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday, on his way to rain-affected areas. Pics/ Satej Shinde

A potentially explosive political situation seems to be brewing in the state, with the Shiv Sena declaring that talks with its pre-poll alliance partner were off, and NCP's Ajit Pawar hinting at a surprise in the days to come. Almost two weeks after the election results were announced, the alliance partners continue to be locked in a battle over the chief minister's chair.

On Sunday, both partners, however, were quick to reach out to farmers in the hinterland who have been badly affected by the unseasonal rain. The public outreach emerged as a top priority because of the bad press the warring BJP and Sena have been receiving. The BJP is learned to have offered the Sena some more powerful portfolios, which the latter has declined.

175 with Sena: Raut

Sena MP Sanjay Raut has declared that the party would manage at least 175 MLAs to support its CM and the government. He said talks between the alliance partners were off and might not resume. He said the Sena still had options open and could form a government if it wished so. He said the statements he has made so far were not his own views but those endorsed by his party president. He accused the chief minister of using goonda elements to influence Sena MLAs. "The use of the enforcement directorate and other agencies may have worked in Karnataka, but won't in Maharashtra where people vote wisely and avoid misuse of power," he said, adding that he would soon release documents to substantiate his allegations.

In another development on Sunday, NCP leader Ajit Pawar revealed that Raut had sent him a message and he would call him back. "However, I want to make it clear that our mandate is to sit in the Opposition," he said, albeit not dismissing the possibility of a surprising political situation in the days to come.

Uddhav all praise for Centre

Uddhav ThackerayUddhav Thackeray on Sunday, on his way to rain-affected areas

While Sena president Uddhav Thackeray took his entourage to Marathwada, his son Aaditya visited coastal Konkan, and various other ministers and MLAs were busy meeting farmers in their respective constituencies and districts. "I'm here to help you and get you as much as possible from both the state and Centre. In fact, the Centre has given Maharashtra a lot of funds. Please don't ever think of committing suicide," he said, praising the Central leadership, in an apparent attempt at keeping the doors open to the BJP's senior leadership in Delhi. Sena leaders have already met the Governor, requesting him to connect with the Union government to release significant assistance.

Both Thackeray and Fadnavis, when asked during their visits, were measured in their response to the process of government formation.

Fadnavis said the alliance would form the government as early as possible, while Thackeray said the people would come to know very soon who makes the CM. Sena has been maintaining that it should get the CM's post for the first two-and-a-half years of a five-year term. It has reminded the BJP of its promise for a 50-50 formula of power-sharing that it said had been assured by the BJP leadership in February this year.

"I promised you that our government would make you debt-free. I'm here to assure you that will happen," Thackeray told the farmers in Kannad near Aurangabad. He said the Centre should declare a wet famine immediately and provide relief accordingly.

"The [state] government has announced aid of Rs 10,000 crore but I understand that is not enough," he said. He said the farmers must be given help immediately instead of asking them to furnish reams of documents first.

Don't worry, CM tells farmers

Fadnavis visited Akola district's Lakhanwada, Chikhalgaon and Mhaispur where cash crops of cotton, soyabean, jowar and moong have been destroyed.

"Don't worry. The government is with you and it will treat this disaster as a wet famine (drought). The farmers won't have to pay any levies," he said.

Fadnavis has issued orders to release Rs 10,000 crore to compensate the losses and asked to ease the crop insurance claims. He admitted in Akola that the caretaker government couldn't do much in view of restricted powers. The CM also ordered the authorities to assess the damages before the end of November and asked officials to act as mediator between insurance companies and farmers to get early and maximum assistance and ensure that not a single farmer was deprived of an insurance claim or government assistance.

AdiAaditya Thackeray at the airport on Sunday, on his way to Konkan

While officially Fadnavis will be travelling to Delhi today to seek more help from the Centre for an aid package for Maharashtra's farmers, he is believed to also be meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah. This visit could bring clarity on BJP's attempts at forming the government in
Maharashtra.

In Konkan, where Aaditya Thackeray was visiting, BJP senior minister Ashish Shelar, too, got into action accompanied by MLA Nitesh Rane.

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