The people of Maharashtra want the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project but the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government led by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray does not, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis told reporters during a press interaction on Wednesday.
Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also said that the Centre’s ambitious bullet train project would bring Rs 50,000 crores of investment in Maharashtra.
“Now, after the coronavirus pandemic, how much will it benefit the people of Maharashtra? All material used will be from Maharashtra. Jobs would have been created. Only Maharashtra and the people of Maharashtra will get benefits from it,” the BJP leader said.
“People want bullet train. This government is against the people of Maharashtra,” claimed Devendra Fadnavis.
Devendra Fadnavis also spoke on a range of issues, including the Uddhav Thackeray government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 Mumbai municipal elections, and the just-concluded Bihar polls, of which he was the BJP’s in-charge.
COVID OUTBREAK, BMC ELECTIONS
About the Maharashtra government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Devendra Fadnavis said, “I question the strategy of people who are now patting their back. Why the highest number of cases in Mumbai and Maharashtra? Mumbai has seen the highest number of deaths. Who is responsible for it? Right now, cases are down not just in Maharashtra but the whole of India.”
“We have seen such tragic conditions in Maharashtra due to the coronavirus. There is a lot of corruption in the name of the coronavirus. They were not worried about the coronavirus but all are worried about who gets contracts. All this happened in Mumbai,” Devendra Fadnavis alleged.
He went on to add, “Different states gave different packages to fight the coronavirus, it is just Maharashtra which did not give a single package.”
Referring to Mumbai’s civic body elections, Devendra Fadnavis said, “This time, in BMC elections, it will be the BJP flag. This time, for BMC elections 2022, it will be the bhagwa (saffron) flag but it will be the bhagwa flag of the BJP.”
MUMBAI POWER BILLS, COASTAL ROAD
Devendra Fadnavis also mentioned complaints by Mumbai’s residents over high electricity bills. “People got looted over electricity bills. Nobody got relief. This is a corrupt government that backstabs the people of Mumbai,” he said.
“The Central government gave huge relief. Why did the state government not take it? No help to farmers, taxi walas, auto walas, nobody got any help. Common people got calls from four different agents over electricity bills,” Devendra Fadnavis said.
Talking about the Mumbai coastal road project, he said, “Coastal road, we have worked very hard. It is because of us that this coastal road is happening. We got all permissions from the Central government.”
Fadnavis also spoke about rehabilitation projects. He said, “The BDD Chawl project took a lot of effort. This government does not want to help at all.”
“For Dharavi, tenders were successful, investors came. We had requested to vacate railway land. In seven years, Dharavi will be changed. Now, it is up to this government to complete it. Even Navi Mumbai, it is very important. GDP of Mumbai is stuck due to airport congestion,” Devendra Fadnavis said.
MUMBAI METRO CAR SHED
Referring to the Mumbai Metro car shed which emerged as a bone of contention between the BJP and its former ally, Shiv Sena, Fadnavis said, “Look at the condition of the metro work. They are just doing time-pass. The Aarey decision was taken by Prithviraj Chavan when he was just about to leave. It was their government’s decision.”
“For the car shed, a lot of people were against it. We immediately stopped the work and formed the government. The committee gave an alternative. I tried to solve the matter,” Fadnavis said.
He went on to add, “Chief Justice said in court to deposit Rs 2,600 crore. For nine months, there was a stay. In our time, 45 per cent of work was already done. Now, their government made a committee and what did it say? More money and two years just to stabilise the land in Kanjurmarg.”
“All money will be taken from the people of Mumbai. Cost escalation is a major issue. As much as 80 per cent of tunneling work is already over. Kanjurmarg land is under litigation. This is all about ego. The High Court and the NGT gave permission for the car shed in Aarey. I am saying it again and again, it is all about ego. Four years of delay at the cost borne by the common people,” Devendra Fadnavis said.
Targeting Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray, Fadnavis said, “You are the environment minister? How many potholes were cleared? They are just misleading the people of Mumbai.”
BIHAR ELECTION VICTORY
One of the key people in-charge of BJP’s performance in the recently concluded Bihar Assembly elections, Devendra Fadnavis asserted, “In Bihar, we won. This means the common people of Bihar benefited from plans given by Modi ji. We won in Manipur, we won in Gujarat, we won in Telangana.”
“During the coronavirus lockdown, all ministers were busy serving people. Here [in Maharashtra], they were busy criticising Modi ji,” he alleged.
MEHBOOBA MUFTI’S TRICOLOUR REMARK
Referring to former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks that she would not hoist the tricolour unless J&K’s special status is restored, Devendra Fadnavis said, “This Mehbooba Mufti says that till the time the flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir is not hoisted, she will not raise the Indian flag. I want to say that we will sit on her chest and hoist our Indian flag. Whoever says this, we will sit on their chest and hoist our flag.”
Continuing his attack against the BJP’s former ally, the Shiv Sena, Devendra Fadnavis said, “Sanjay Raut, you just keep giving statements. You sit with people who are against Hindutva. People have understood your Hindutva.”