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Exclusive | Lok Sabha elections 2024: Mumbai is for Modi, says Devendra Fadnavis

Updated on: 19 May,2024 06:58 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

The deputy chief minister is confident of earning a perfect 10 in MMR and rest of Maharashtra

Exclusive | Lok Sabha elections 2024: Mumbai is for Modi, says Devendra Fadnavis

Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis at his residence, Meghdoot. Pic/Kirti Surve Parade

Mumbai has made up its mind to vote for Modi ji, because the BJP governments in the Centre and state have transformed the city in the past ten years,” said deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “You have seen the two rallies (NDA’s and MVA’s) held on Friday and the marked difference between them. People have decided to vote for Modi ji for Mumbai’s changing face. We will win all ten seats in MMR,” he said, adding that the BJP and its allies will retain 2019’s tally of 41 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

mid-day interviewed Fadnavis on Saturday, the last day of campaigning for the fifth and last phase of polling on May 20. He said the city, if transformed many years ago by the then governments, wouldn’t have let Hyderabad and Bangalore become the information technology hubs of the country. “We could have become the best much earlier, but...” Fadnavis spoke on a range of issues, including the Opposition’s allegations and BJP’s new friends in Maharashtra. 

Why Mumbai for Modi

“PM Narendra Modi ji’s rally at Shivaji Park has proven the city’s love for him. Modi ji is in the hearts of Mumbaikars, and they have decided to vote for him. In addition to Mumbai’s six, we will also retain four seats in Thane and Palghar districts. That makes it a perfect 10 for us in MMR. 

We have transformed the city since 2014, the year the Modi government was installed in Delhi and I became the CM of Maharashtra. In fact, the city could have been transformed much earlier (by the then governments). The delay gave Hyderabad and Bangalore an opportunity to become IT hubs.

Mumbai’s projects would be impossible without Modi ji’s support. His contribution to the city’s changing face is greater than any other leader. We have created a world class infrastructure—tunnels, metro rail network, sea/trans harbour links, super expressway—in the past ten years, and we will be creating more in the coming years. People know about our resolve to fulfil our vision for Mumbai.

Modi ji granted permissions for the big projects immediately after we approached him.  And one more thing, under Modi ji’s tenure the city didn’t have a single bomb blast or any other terror activity. The city feels safe like never before.”

On redevelopment, housing 

“For example, Dharavi’s redevelopment was first mooted by (late) former PM Rajiv Gandhi, but the proposal didn’t move an inch. Many years later, I identified the problem of rehabilitation. I understood the need of in-situ rehabilitation for Dharavikars, who are into the informal manufacturing sector. I proposed a five-year tax holiday for them, so that they can gradually be part of the formal system. Additional land was required, so I got the railway land from the Centre. That is our vision for the Dharavi project. 

The opposition’s allegation that the Dharavi project affected people will be relocated in Mulund is utterly false. We have proven it as false propaganda during the elections. We have brought in reforms to expedite redevelopment of dilapidated and cessed buildings. BDD chawl’s redevelopment is the world’s largest such project. It is on and will be completed within the deadline. For cessed buildings, some 20,000 proposals are in the pipeline.

The trans harbour link has opened up avenues for affordable housing. We can create a new Mumbai that is triple the size of the existing city, beyond Atal Setu, and build affordable homes.”

Raj ki baat

“Raj Thackeray’s association with us will not cause us any damage, because he has given up the policy of exclusion and embraced a nationalistic agenda. Regional pride is okay, but we didn’t accept it when someone talked of exclusion. Now, MNS has begun its journey towards national issues. Raj Thackeray’s participation will benefit us in Mumbai, MMR, Pune, Nashik, where he has admirers and vote banks.    

It is wrong to say that we befriended Raj Thackeray to neutralise Uddhav Thackeray, because ‘Thackeray’ is a brand. Let me tell you that the BJP has also established its brand in Mumbai. The poll results of 2014, 2017 (BMC) and 2019 stand testimony to that. Not just Marathi Manoos, but all other communities are with the BJP. North Indians are with the BJP because their fear ended in 2014. No individual is discriminated against on the basis of the language. All are with Modi ji.”

Family and party breaker

“The BJP did not split the Shiv Sena or the Pawar family. The Shiv Sena was divided only because of Uddhav Thackeray’s ego and super ambition. Sena broke because of the ‘family first’ policy.

After 1995, Uddhav Thackeray cut Narayan Rane (then CM) to size because then CM was becoming a threat to him. In 2019, he denied Eknath Shinde the CM’s office, because Thackeray wanted to become the CM, and wanted son Aaditya to replace him. 

It became clear that Shinde was gaining popularity among MLAs and MPs when Thackeray was unavailable to them, Uddhav Thackeray humiliated and suppressed Shinde, the urban development minister. 

Aaditya Thackeray ran Shinde’s department. Shinde left because it was the matter of his political existence. The Sena had left Hindutva and Bal Thackeray’s ideology (by joining hands with Congress and NCP).

The NCP too split because of the ‘first family first’ policy. Sharad Pawar made Ajit Pawar a villain. We had to convince our workers when Ajit Pawar was brought in. We told them that we needed more allies to break through the chakravyuh that the opposition had created to isolate Modi ji. We have an emotional bond with Sena. A similar bond could develop between us and NCP within the next 10 years.”

Clean chit for Ajit

“In 2011-12, I had charged then minister AJit Pawar in the irrigation scam. I couldn’t have blamed an executive engineer. Subsequent inquiries identified the guilty who were punished. But the investigating agencies have not named Ajit Pawar or Sunil Tarkare in any charge-shit. They couldn’t make them the accused even after 12 years. If the Opposition says we have a washing machine (to give clean chit), they should admit at once that they all are corrupt.”

The 400 paar narrative

“The Opposition doesn’t have any agenda. You confuse them when you can’t convince them. They are liars, and a narrative they have built around our 400 paar slogan is part of their war strategy. But people know what Modi ji has done when he had a full majority. He made the Constitution effective in Jammu and Kashmir where Article 370 denied the SCs and STs a quota in jobs, education and politics. Modi ji has saved the Constitution. When he planned a special day to celebrate our Constitution, the Congress and others opposed it. Tell me, who locked the Constitution in almirah in 1975? Who scrapped elections then?”    

On caste politics

“It is unfortunate that some constituencies witnessed a sharp caste divide this election. Extreme polarisation was seen. It is not good for the state. It will do great harm in the long term. Those involved don’t understand the threat such polarisation poses to the progressive Maharashtra.”

Vote jihad 

“We have videos of religious leaders and officers of the Muslim personal law board, telling the community to vote to defeat Modi ji. They named some candidates. Whether Muslim or Hindu, the Muslims should vote for a candidate who can beat the BJP. They called it ‘vote jihad’.  We surely opposed it. And one more thing, Uddhav Thackeray is a bigger ‘jihadi neta’ than the Congress.”


“Modi ji has to respond to the allegations or else people will think they are true. Of the PM’s talk, 80 per cent is for development and 20 per cent for reactions. You ask us, why mandir and masjid? Tell me who brought it in? Who said they will replace the Ram Lalla idol in Ayodhya? Who said they will purify Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir?

Who gave Muslim a quota in Karnataka? Who made OBCs share their quota with Muslims after the SC scrapped independent quota for Muslims? OBCs quota was reduced. We have to tell the people who will suffer (from Congress’s appeasement policy).”

Agrarian issues

“Suicides happened largely in dry land farming areas. We have created irrigation facilities in some dry lands and it will take more time for us to make it available in other parts of the state. One who says we don’t understand farmers was the agriculture minister (read Sharad Pawar) for ten years. The highest number of farm suicides took place during his tenure. The Opposition doctored an old video to convince the farmers that the Centre had increased fertiliser prices during the elections. We caught their lies and fake videos. There was no price hike.”

BMC polls

“We’re ready for the BMC polls, and elections to the other civic bodies even now. We want these elections. But the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. The delay has certainly impacted us because these elections are for the party workers, who contest them.”

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