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Matoshree will control Maharashtra government, but not the one in Mumbai

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Mumbai, Jan 02: The Shiv Sena-led coalition government in Maharashtra will be controlled by "Matoshree of Delhi" and not from "Matoshree" in Mumbai, senior BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said in an apparent reference to the Congress leadership.

Fadnavis made the remarks targetting chief minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray while campaigning for the upcoming Palghar Zilla Parishad elections.

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis

"This government will be controlled not from 'Matoshree' (Thackeray's residence in suburban Mumbai), but by the 'Matoshree' of Delhi", the leader of opposition in the legislative assembly told a rally.

Fadnavis, however, didn't take any names while firing the "Matoshree in Delhi" barb. 'Matoshree' means mother in Marathi.

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    The NCP and the Congress are the other constituents in the Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

    'Matoshree' gradually emerged as a formidable power centre in Maharashtra politics when Sena founder Bal Thackeray was alive.

    Fadnavis' remarks are set to raise hackles of the Sena, which always takes pride in "calling the shots" from the Bandra residence of the Thackerays.

    Continuing his diatribe, Fadnavis also took a swipe at Uddhav Thackeray's comments that he had given a word to his father late Balasaheb Thackeray of making a Shiv Sainik the chief minister of Maharashtra.

    "Bal Thackeray will be crying in heaven if he learns about the Sena's move to go with the NCP and Congress after polls," Fadnavis said.

    He also accused the Sena of "betraying" the public mandate by forging an alliance with the NCP and Congress after the state elections.

    Fadnavis appealed to people to give a befitting reply to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party in the upcoming zilla parishad polls.

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    It is unfortunate that the Shiv Sena has to compromise with those who "abused" Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, the BJP leader said, wondering how many days the Thackeray-led government will survive amid the "infighting".

    The Sena not only "betrayed" the public mandate but also its pre-poll ally BJP with which it jointly contested the assembly elections, he alleged.

    Fadnavis said in the assembly polls held in October last year, the BJP won 70 per cent of the seats that it contested and emerged as the single largest party, while the Shiv Sena bagged only 45 per cent of the seats that it fought.

    "Citizens gave a clear mandate to the BJP-Shiv Sena combine, but unfortunately due to betrayal by the Sena, which joined hands with the NCP and Congress, the BJP has to remain out of power," he said.

    Hitting out at Uddhav Thackeray for "betraying" the BJP, he said from day one (since Sena formed government with the NCP and Congress), the three parties were not able to decide the names of ministers.

    "Even after the selection of ministers, there is growing discontent among the Shiv Sena leaders and activists, and in case of the Congress, its activists have even gone to the extent of ransacking their party offices," he said.

    On Tuesday, some supporters of Congress MLA Sangram Thopte had vandalised the party office in Pune to protest against his non-inclusion in the Maharashtra ministry, which was expanded on Monday.

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    Fadnavis said people of Maharashtra gave a "clear majority to the BJP-Shiv Sena combine" to form government, but later things took a different turn. He said citizens are witness to the political developments in the state.

    "It is unfortunate that it took weeks (for the Thackeray-led alliance) to finalise government formation and then form the Cabinet," the BJP leader said.

    On the farm loan waiver scheme announced by Thackeray, he said, "It is nothing but an eyewash and several conditions are attached to it, as a result of which nearly 60 lakh farmers in the state will not get benefit of the scheme."

    The Shiv Sena made "tall claims" that the 7/12 (land title) of farmers would be made free of encumbrance.

    "They have taken the farmers for a ride and none of them will get the benefit," Fadnavis said, while recalling that Thackeray had earlier demanded Rs 25,000 per hectare for farmers who suffered from crop losses.

    "Now, they have gone back on their word," he alleged.

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