If Devendra Fadnavis wants to split Maharashtra, he must quit: Congress

Mumbai, Nov 4: Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane Tuesday called upon Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to refrain from talking about separating Vidarbha from Maharashtra, or he "can quit".

"Fadnavis is the chief minister of Maharashtra. He should not talk about a separate Vidarbha. If he wants to split the state, then he should first quit his post and then talk about separating Vidarbha," Rane said sternly.

Attacking the newly-installed Bharatiya Janata Party's minority government, the Congress' campaign chief predicted that the Fadnavis administration was doomed to fail.

"Fadnavis is an honest, sincere man, but lacks administrative acumen. His cabinet is bereft of experienced persons like Eknath Khadse. The ministry fails to impress and it does not appear if the government would be able to fulfil the peoples' expectations," Rane told media.

He added that Khadse could not succeed in bagging the chief minister's post so there was no point now discussing that a backward caste person should have headed the state administration.

Referring to Fadvnavis' recent about-turn on the sensitive issue of abolishing road toll tax in the state, Rane said the government would constantly remain under the influence of Narendra Modi-Amit Shah and will not be able to take independent decisions.

"Before the elections, he promised to abolish toll, now he has gone back...This has brought to the fore the real situation in the BJP that without Modi-Shah's nod, Fadnavis will not be able to work. He will remain a name-sake CM...and the promised 'achhe din' (good days) may never come," Rane said.

Targetting Fadnavis' move to appoint Prakash Mehta as the industry minister, Rane wondered whether it would benefit Maharashtra.

"If tomorrow some company from Germany or Japan sets up an industry here and he is ordered to direct them to Gujarat, will he be in a position to resist? How will Maharashtra's interests be safeguarded," Rane asked in a reference to Mehta being a Gujarati.

The Congress leader touched upon how the BJP has shown "Shiv Sena its proper place" after the October assembly elections.

"The problem is that Shiv Sena became totally helpless...If the late Bal Thackeray had been alive, he would have kicked BJP and sat in the opposition...His son (Uddhav Thackeray) lacks that courage and has ruined the party's dignity. Why is Shiv Sena now going with 'Afzal Khan's' army?" Rane said.

During the assembly election campaign, Uddhav Thackarey had attacked the BJP for fielding a large number of leaders, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah to union ministers and senior party leaders from other states, and dubbed them as Afzal Khan's army.

Without taking names, Rane lauded former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan's administrative abilities, but indirectly blamed him for the party's rout in the assembly polls.

Rane said he accepted full responsibility for the party's defeat in the assembly elections and that he would submit a detailed report to the central party leadership on the issue.


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