Madhu Chavan is a former Congress MLA. He was born in a humble middle class family in 1951. After completion of studies in the technical sector his keen desire for social work motivated him to get associated with his guru Anna Zute quiet early in his life. Chavan had joined the Congress Party as an active member in 1969. Being an excellent organiser he was catapulted to the rank of Mumbai Congress Secretary from 1985 to 1990. Through his association with various social initiatives like Mumbai Bhadekaru Sangh, Clean City Society and organising various sports events for the youth, he continues to serve the people of all demographics of society. Chavan also held the President’s post of MHADA where he worked tirelessly to get the people decent and affordable housing rights. Madhu Chavan discussed about the current political situation prevailing in the state, factors affecting redevelopment of dilapidated buildings in Mumbai with our correspondent Gautam Korde.
How do you perceive the recent political scenario in Maharashtra?
Mumbai is the economic capital of India. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is controlled by Shiv Sena since last 25 years. BJP and its ally Shiv Sena is in power both in the state and BMC, hence they’re shunning their major responsibilities. Potholes are visible on roads, government schools and hospitals are not functioning properly and funds allocated for various projects are not utilised effectively. Both Shiv Sena and BJP had made several promises before election but they have failed to fulfil them. Every monsoon Mumbai faces the same flood situation, but after governing the state and the city for such a long time they are still far away from the solution.
Many old buildings in Mumbai have collapsed in last few months. Don’t you think the government remains ignorant about this issue?
Ever since BJP and Shiv Sena have taken the charge of the civic body, redevelopment of dilapidated buildings are not being undertaken satisfactorily and even funds have not been allocated for them. Many construction labourers in B ward had gone on strike due to unpaid wages as construction work stalled for several days. Since last three years, the government has not granted permission for constructing new buildings across the city. Whenever opposition parties have tried to contact Chief Minister or bureaucrats they refuse to meet them. Our CM only blabbers but never works accordingly. In 1969, Yashwantrao Mohite had put forward the proposal to renovate old buildings and build new ones; the project was immensely successful. During the reign of Congress government new homes were allotted to 50,000 people and many buildings were redeveloped. Congress had introduced the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (SRS.)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently launched the bullet train project that will run from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Do you think this is a pro-poor step of the government or just a new strategy of Modi?
Modi government’s intention to launch the bullet train project is simply to divert Mumbai’s revenue to Ahmedabad. Bullet trains will be out of reach for the common man. Neither Mumbai nor Maharashtra is going to derive any benefit from it.
What is the difference between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi?
Several differences exist between them. PM Modi always speaks lies. He used to do it before becoming the Prime Minister of our country and also continues till date. Rahul Gandhi is a leader who never gets scared to face the truth and always speaks the truth. Recently, when Rahul was asked about the trend of dynasty politics in India, he had replied saying that is what happens in the country. He also cited many examples from Bollywood, businessmen or politicians.
Modi always invites international governing premiers to his native state Gujarat during their visit to India. What do you think is the strategy behind this?
Narendra Modi might be the Prime Minister of the India, but a person who can’t manage his own household, how can he govern the entire nation? “Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi,” the rhyme of his supporters is not right. Before Lok Sabha election, Modi promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh to each citizen’s bank account. But till today people have not received a single penny. They have also promised to control inflation but have failed to deliver. None of Modi’s foreign trips were successful. All these visits of international governing premiers are just to fool the common man when Gujarat election is just few months away. If BJP loses the upcoming assembly elections, it will be a major setback for BJP and primarily for Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. PM Modi remains ignorant about India’s development while he is very aggressive when it comes to Gujarat’s development.
Why farmers continue to commit suicide despite the government had announced loan waiver schemes for them?
The government is least bothered about the hardships faced by farmers. They remain totally ignorant about the plight of widows and children. Waiving farm loans is a marketing strategy for the CM. If the government would’ve been honest on the issue, the farmers should have derived benefit out of it. However, the government is merely harassing farmers by changing eligibility dates every single day. Sena and BJP are involved in a conflict. While Sena is keen to waive loans by Dussehra, BJP wants to delay the matter till Diwali.
Do you prefer Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister of India or Priyanka Gandhi?
Congress is a secular party that works for the welfare of the common man. We promote equality. Both P. V. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh were Prime Ministers and belonged to Congress. Congress is the only party that overlooks dynasty politics and promoted their successful party workers to become Prime Minister. Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi hail from a family of great Indian leaders. According to me, both of them possess credibility to become the Prime Minister of India.
Do you think BJP is anti-Muslim and supports casteism?
BJP is not only anti-Muslim but they create misunderstanding amongst all the castes thereby paving for riots. During the recent UP election this party has influenced castes like ‘Dalit’, ‘Kurmi’, ‘Muslim’ and resulted a riot that has claimed many lives during the election. BJP is solely influenced by RSS. Congress is the only party that has fought for the independence of India.
What is your take about speculations that are abuzz about Sharad Pawar joining BJP?
It is not possible that Sharad Pawar will shift loyalties towards BJP. Initially he was a part of Congress and later he formed his own party NCP. Pawar is a secular leader and people respect him. He will never get along with extreme pro-Hindutva parties like BJP.