Mumbai, Aug 2: Under attack from Shiv Sena over the separate Vidarbha issue, Devendra Fadnavis today told BJP's bickering ally that he was the Chief Minister of "Akhand (entire) Maharashtra".
Fadnavis was speaking in the State Assembly as the contentious issue of separate Vidarbha dominated proceedings for the third day.
Sena MLA and former Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu asked Fadnavis to clarify his stand on the issue. Prabhu also demanded that cases of treason be filed against those who gave slogans for a separate Vidarbha state in the House.
"There is no proposal as of this moment for a separate Vidarbha before the State Government," Fadnavis said. It is not right to discuss an issue which is not pending before this House, he added. "I am the CM of an Akhand Maharashtra," Fadnavis said. "While BJP has been in favour of (creation of) smaller states, Sena has opposed it," the CM said.
"Both the parties are in the government. This is not the government's stand," he added. Fadnavis appealed to the House members to put a stop to the discussion on separate Vidarbha issue. "NCP doesn't have any right to seek my resignation. People have that right," he said.
"Ask NCP's Praful Patel who has backed separate Vidarbha. Should we discuss in the House what he has said," the CM said. "We have taken an oath to be true to the Constitution. The Constitution provides for a House member to put forth his views on formation of a separate state.
A criminal offence cannot be registered against him for this," Fadnavis said. Prabhu said there's no commitment for an Akhand Maharashtra in the statement by Fadnavis on the Vidarbha issue. Opposition Congress-NCP legislators shouted slogans in support of a united Maharashtra. Shiv Sena legislators also joined in.
Opposition legislators staged a protest on the stairs at the entrance of Vidhan Bhawan, against division of the western state. After the statement by Fadnavis in the Assembly, Sena ministers left for 'Matoshree', party chief Uddhav Thackeray's residence in suburban Bandra.