BJP chief J P Nadda with party leader Devendra Fadnavis at the Maharashtra BJP convention at Navi Mumbai. (Express photo by Amit Chakravarty)
Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday dared his successor Uddhav Thackeray to seek a fresh mandate from the people of Maharashtra for his Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Describing it as a battle between dharma and adharma, the BJP leader said his party alone can fight Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, the three parties in the Uddhav-led coalition government.
Addressing BJP’s state-level convention held at Nerul in Navi Mumbai, Fadnavis said: “Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has challenged us to bring down the government. I would like to say that we will not pull down any government. We have no such dreams. Instead, if you (Uddhav Thackeray) have courage, go to polls and seek a fresh mandate. Thackeray should verify whether the people of Maharashtra have given consent to the three-party coalition.”
“Let Congress, NCP and Sena contest the elections together. The BJP alone will be able to give them a befitting reply,” he added.
The statement came a day after Uddhav, speaking at an awards function in Jalgaon, had said, “I am the son of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray who accepted and threw challenges. I challenge the BJP to topple my government today itself instead of waiting till April when operation lotus is likely to be activated (by the BJP).”
Urging party workers not to go on the defensive, Fadnavis said: “Playing the role of the Opposition is in BJP’s DNA. We have to take the government head on… The BJP is not going to oppose for the sake of opposition. But it will not relent when it comes to exposing the government on issues that concern the poor and farmers.”
Referring to the Mahabharata, Fadnavis said, “Great warrior Arjun asked Lord Krishna ‘how can I fight against Duryodhana, who is my brother’. Krishna explained to him that the battle is against dharma and adharma. Duryodhana had taken the path of adharma. Therefore, you have to fight against him to protect dharma. Similarly, Shiv Sena has betrayed the people’s mandate to join hands with Congress and NCP out of its greed for power.”
On Uddhav’s plan to visit Ayodhya next month on the completion of 100 days in office, Fadnavis said, “He should surely visit the holy place. It may help him to come to terms with his identity and Hindutva blood.”
Lashing out at Sena, BJP’s former ally, Fadnavis said: “Shiv Sena appears to have buried ideologies for its greed for power. Else, how does one explain Sena’s silence on repeated insults to Veer Savarkar by Congress.”
Pawar afraid truth will come out in Bhima Koregaon case: Ex-CM
Devendra Fadnavis also said NCP president Sharad Pawar was afraid that “truth” would come out in the NIA’s investigation into the Bhima Koregaon violence case.
Even as a Pune court on Friday ordered transfer of the Elgar Parishad case records to a special NIA court in Mumbai, Pawar criticised the Uddhav government for clearing the transfer of the case.
Speaking to reporters in Kolhapur, he had said: “As per the Constitution, law and order is a state subject. It is wrong to take away the rights of the state… It was not right for the Centre to hand over the investigation into the case to the NIA. But it was even more wrong for the state government to support the transfer of the case.
“I must thank Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for taking a stand in favour of handing over the case to NIA,” Fadnavis said on Sunday. Taking on Pawar, he also said the Centre was facing a “perception war” from Pawar on CAA and this will have to be countered by taking the political fight to the streets. “NCP chief Sharad Pawar is playing a perception war against the BJP-led Union government, deliberately creating confusion over CAA. A misinformation that citizenship (of certain communities) will be taken away by CAA is being spread.”