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Maharashtra’s development has taken a backseat under BJP: Congress

Opposition parties said on Tuesday Maharashtra has lagged on development front under the four- year-old BJP-led government and also accused it of fomenting social unrest in the state for political gains.

While the Congress said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s government had taken the state backward by two decades, the NCP hit out at the BJP-led dispensation over its handling of the Maratha reservation agitation and violence at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district

The BJP-led government will complete four years in office on Wednesday.

State Congress vice-president and spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan said over the four years only Fadnavis’s political clout had grown since no one in the BJP dared to speak against him for fear of inviting the wrath of the party leadership.

“It is true that there is a perception that Fadnavis is the only leader of party (the BJP) in the state and his political clout had grown since there was no opposition to him. But, nobody dared to speak for fear of rebellion being crushed as is done in the BJP,” Mahajan said.

He said none of the pre-poll promises made by the BJP has been fulfilled.

“However, Fadnavis’s increased political clout has not benefited the people of the state. None of the promises made before the 2014 Assembly polls has been fulfilled.

“All assurances like a toll-free Maharashtra and reservation for the Dhangar community were given just to win elections. The four years of the BJP-Sena rule has taken the state backward by two decades,” the Congress leader said.

On September 21, Fadnavis completed 1,421 days in office to become the longest-serving non-Congress chief minister of the state, a record previously held by Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi, who was in office for 1,420 days. Fadnavis is the first BJP chief minister of Maharashtra.

Responding to questions, Mahajan said the BJP’s claim to have become the single largest party in local bodies in the state was “half truth”.

“The BJP is a power hungry party. Earlier, political parties did not contest the local bodies polls on official party symbol. The objective was to ensure peace and harmony in gram panchayats, municipal councils, zilla parishads.

“Now, the BJP aligned with local outfits and fought the local bodies like in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections and claim that the all numbers are with the ruling party,” he said.

Mahajan said only 39,000 farmers benefited from the loan waiver scheme which was dubbed as the biggest in history by the Fadnavis government.

These farmers got loan waiver to the tune of Rs 16,000 crore, not a very big amount given the overall size of the scheme, he said.

“Fadnavis had announced that 89 lakh farmers will get Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver. Which figure is correct? People would like to know,” he said.

Mahajan rubbished the government’s claim that the Jalyukt Shivar Yojana was revolutionary and 16,000 villages had become drought-free under the water conservation scheme.

“Which are these villages? Their names should be uploaded on the government website. How many are from Marathwada, which is reeling under severe drought like conditions,” he asked.

The Congress leader said the government defence that Jalyukt Shivar related works were completed but nothing could be done because of lack of rains was “childish”.

“The Ground Water Survey and Development Authority (GSDA) has reported that the water table had depleted in over 30,000 villages,” he said.

Speaking about the handling of the Maratha reservation agitation and Koregaon-Bhima violence, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik alleged the “government had been fomenting social unrest in the state for political gains.”

“The government has not delivered on its electoral promises. All sections of the society, including the youth and farmers, are disillusioned with it,” Malik said.

Meanwhile, political observers said Fadnavis’s biggest success in the last four years was to prevent any strong challenge to himself.

Agitations by farmers, anganwadis workers and Maratha community members were neutralised by dividing the protesters, according to Maratha reservation activist Sanjay Lakhe Patil.

The decisions taken to address Maratha grievances are only on paper. Nationalised banks do not give financial help to Maratha youth for self-employment initiatives, he said.

Not a single hostel has been constructed for Maratha youth as promised, Patil said.

Malik said the state is suffering because of the tug of war between the Shiv Sena and the BJP. “It is their internal matter. But, why should Maharashtra suffer in their fight,” the NCP leader asked.

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