Afternoon Voice is a parallel and emerging media house that addresses and brings to you the well-analysed and detailed form of everyday issues in the city and its suburbs. We have started our new “Guest Editor Column” that will feature prominent political leaders from the state and others. We will interact with them and portray his/her views on current political and social developments happening across the country.
Today, we are honoured to feature Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar as our “Guest Editor”. In a personal chat with our team he has discussed his views on current political and economic scenario of the country. Here are the excerpts
Sanjay Raut had stated that Rahul Gandhi is capable of leading the nation and Modi wave is fading. What is your comment about this?
I think this is the big joke of the day. Sanjay Raut is a fool and only fools can issue such statements. Shiv Sena should take a call on whether it wants to continue with the government or get ready to contest election. Sena should remain accountable towards people. We have to run a coalition and serve the people for the sake of Maharashtra’s development. We are swallowing our ego and serving people. Sena is also having alliance with BJP in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Allegations have been made against Sena that the party is the B team of Congress. It is also supporting Hardik Patel in Gujarat.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s BJP is different from Modi’s BJP. While Atalji believed in providing good governance, Modi government is more concerned about spending money on promotional activities?
Atalji is definitely a great leader of BJP. However today times have changed with the development of technology hence the mode of delivering governance has changed.
Media has been criticised as paid and bazaru? What is your comment?
According to me, media should conduct thorough research and investigate a report properly before publishing it. Today we are collecting news but are failing to create it. Definitely your paper must remain critical of our work so that we can improve governance.
Recently BJP leaders have been making controversial statements about renaming Taj Mahal as Taj Mandir? Don’t you think that leaders are communalising Taj?
The comments issued by leaders are their own and BJP doesn’t endorse the same. We believe in development and don’t consider statements issued by leaders pertaining to Taj Mahal as relevant. There are several other important issues which the nation is facing today. We are here to serve the people.
Since Shiv Sena and BJP have formed government in Maharashtra, there are rows of conflicts and clashes between them. Instead of that, BJP is still continuing their alliance with Sena. What according to you is the reason?
BJP is getting stronger day by day in Maharashtra and across the nation and Shiv Sena is becoming insecure. While BJP always tries to solve and organise matters and look for peaceful development of the state, Sena believes in creating chaos and hamper the governance. BJP practises politics that supports and promotes development but Sena acts the opposite and only concentrates on party motifs.
The recently launched Bullet train project from Mumbai to Ahmedabad requires agricultural land acquisition in Palghar and Dahanu Road. And the land owners of those areas are protesting everyday and facing gruesome lathi charge from the police force. What do you think?
Whatever the reason is, police shouldn’t lathi charge on the land owners of those areas. There are many issues in Maharashtra where people have protested in the name of development to cease the work – be it Navi Mumbai Airport, Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg or underground Metro route 3-4. But beyond doubt, development is also necessary and Maharashtra government is open to discuss the issues. When we started the expressway, we faced a lot of protests from the people but today, it is helping a larger part of the society. Similarly, Bandra-Worli Sea Link proposal was also brought in by BJP and fishermen had opposed it initially but the issue has been resolved; the sea link is a prominent mark of Mumbai and admired by everyone.
In recent cabinet reshuffle in Maharashtra, is there any chance to see MLA Ashish Shelar as a Minister from the state?
Only Chief Minister can answer this question. I don’t have any intention to become a minister. I am satisfied with the work I am doing as the Mumbai BJP President. There are many senior and experienced members in BJP and the party will take a decision in this regard.
Raj Thackeray has said Modi government will see its finale soon, not because of the opposition but because of the mistakes committed by his own party. What is your take on the comment?
I don’t have any enemy in politics and Raj is a good friend of mine. His party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has no bona fide existence in the state politics. Hence, he can remark on whatever he wants to.
In recent days, there are many atrocities committed against hawkers in Mumbai by either BMC or the police. Many vendors have become unemployed, what do you think? Is the government planning to address their grievances?
Roadside hawkers are more accessible and preferred by public. And people are also not interested to visit and buy from places designated for hawkers. Thus, everyday, illegal hawkers are mushrooming in the city. The responsibility also lies of common people to not encourage illegal roadside hawkers. There are two types of hawkers – authorised and illegal. Our government has framed a law to protect genuine hawkers and provide them designated hawking spaces in the metropolis. At the same time, BMC will not encourage the illegal and unauthorised vendors. We are also planning to start a survey to identify genuine hawkers in the city and grant them hawking licenses.
Students protested against the recent Mumbai University examination goof ups including long delay in declaring results of over four lakh students. But the state Education Minister hasn’t yet passed any remark on it. He hasn’t even taken any stand for the students.?
Whatever happened was wrong. Government had introduced the online evaluation system in haste without searching on possible technological glitches. The state Education Minister Vinod Tawde also had issued a statement in this regard in the Assembly. We will be more prepared for next academic year and I am hopeful to avoid such repetitions in future.
In last few months, there are many instances of molestation attempt on girls in Mumbai locals. Has the government come up with any solution to improve women safety?
BJP government only came with the idea to install CCTV cameras in the ladies compartments of Mumbai suburban local trains. We are also thinking to allow free travelling for Mumbai police in locals if they are wearing their uniform. We believe this step will keep criminals frightened to attempt any such cruelty of women passengers.