Why not, says Devendra Fadnavis over nationalism agenda

Updated: Sep 24, 2019, 08:04 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

The chief minister was speaking at a press meet held to explain the budgetary roll-back and its impact on state

Devendra Fadnavis
Devendra Fadnavis

Shifting the metro car shed from Aarey to an alternative site will result in hefty fare hike, said CM Devendra Fadnavis at a press conference at BJP headquarters on Monday. He suspected that certain people sent in 10,000 of the 13,000 objections received from the same IP address in Bangalore when the government asked for suggestions and objections to the disputed site.

The CM said if the alternative site was to be acquired, the state would have to pay a private owner at market price, which could be higher up to R5,000 crore. "Who will bear the escalated cost of the project? Obviously, the commuters will pay it through higher fares," he said at the meet organised to explain how the budgetary roll-back would benefit a poll-bound Maharashtra.

The metro car shed shifting would also end the feasibility of the underground Metro III line, he added. He said that he would wait for the court's verdict without commenting further on the issue. BJP's ally Shiv Sena, NGOs, the Opposition parties and citizens groups have been demanding that the car depot be shifted to an alternative site in Kanjurmarg.

"We see a motive in opposing the site which is legal because the 10,000 objections had come from the same IP address in Bangalore," he said, suspecting an organised effort to stall the project. He did not name any individual or institution.

Nationalism as poll agenda

When asked about the BJP's criticism of making abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, the CM said his party never hesitated from making nationalism an agenda for polls. "Even in other countries, nationalism is an agenda. Article 370 too is part of our election agenda," he said, endorsing party president Amit Shah's appeal to party workers that they should ask voters to show the parties that have opposed the abrogation their place.

He also opened up another frontier with the Opposition's charge that the government had made a mess of the Indian economy. He said the recent decisions that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced to arrest the downslide of the economy should help a corporate Maharashtra a lot in terms of getting more foreign direct investment and creating jobs. He said the corporate tax cut, consolidation of banks, linking of repo rate with borrowing were landmark decisions for making India formidable in the economic sector.

"Maharashtra is the country's manufacturing hub. The state collects the highest corporate tax. It is where most employment could be generated. I think the bold steps that PM Narendra Modi and Sitharaman have taken could benefit us most," he said in a clear attempt to reassure investors and general voters who would be bombarded with Opposition charges while seeking their vote.

Wait for Sena alliance

When asked about the delayed decision in getting the ally along, Fadnavis said he was as concerned about having a pre-poll pact with Shiv Sena as others. "You will know what equal share and the alliance world are all about at an appropriate time," he said. Sources in the BJP said Shah was expected to visit Mumbai on September 26 and that day could decide the fate of the alliance for October 21 Assembly polls.

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