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Is Shiv Sena serious about loan-waiver?

Is the party raising this issue to garner political mileage to corner BJP?

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray took an aggressive stand against the BJP and asked his legislators to disrupt the functioning of the state assembly until its senior alliance partner offers loan waiver to farmers. Sena had earlier sharpened its knives against BJP and said that the latter was not serious about the hardships faced by farmers. On one hand, Sena is attacking the BJP by raising the loan waiver issue on the other hand the party is reluctant to withdraw support to the state government. Thus a question which arises here is whether Sena is raising this issue to garner political mileage to corner BJP?

The party has been attacking BJP for rising farmer suicides in the state. Sena nonetheless is firm on its demand and want the BJP to immediately resolve this issue. Sena had earlier made the loan waiver an election issue during the BMC and other municipality polls. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other ministers of BJP are yet to comment on this issue.

Senior Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said, “We won’t allow the assembly to function smoothly unless and until BJP gives an assurance to us to waive farm loans. Our party has been making this demand since last two years but the BJP has remained non-committal. We are working in the interest of farmers.”

“We will disrupt the proceedings of the assembly until the state government waives loans of farmers. Uddhav Thackeray has sent across a stern message to all of us in this regard and we will abide by them,” he added.

While campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls BJP had promised to write-off farmers’ loans in the state. If BJP can waive farm loans in UP why can’t similar step be taken in Maharashtra asked Sena leaders. Uddhav Thackeray had earlier said that Sena will support BJP only if the party offers financial assistance to farmers. He added that the BJP led state government is on notice period and threatened to withdraw support. He also took a jibe at the BJP by saying that the party had won UP assembly polls by announcing loan waiver to farmers while campaigning and not due to demonetisation.

Meanwhile, Sena is planning to have an alliance with Congress and NCP in municipal corporation elections in Maharashtra to counter BJP. BJP’s victory in the municipal corporation polls across the state has raised alarm bells among Sena-Congress and NCP. According to sources, these parties have held a discussion about having a tie up for municipal corporation elections. Since BJP had offered unconditional support to Shiv Sena’s Mayor candidate in the BMC, Sena reciprocated by allowing the saffron party to install its mayor in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.

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