Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday expressed confidence that the BJP will come back to power in the state with an “unprecedented” mandate after the upcoming Assembly polls.
Fadnavis said his ongoing ‘Mahajanadesh Yatra’ has so far covered over 3,000 km and reached out to over 100 constituencies (out of the total 288) in the state.
“Wherever we go, the yatra is being welcomed by people and getting a huge response. Looking at the people’s support, we are sure that we will get an unprecedented victory in the Assembly polls,” he told reporters here.
Fadnavis on Saturday visited some tehsils in Pune as part of the third leg of his mass outreach campaign.
Taking a swipe at NCP workers’ protest in Baramati town here against his yatra, Fadnavis wondered if Article 370 (that earlier granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir but was recently abrogated) was imposed in Sharad Pawar’s bastion so as to not allow any other party to hold a rally there.
His remarks came when reporters asked him about some NCP workers’ allegation that police used lathi-charge when they shouted slogans during Fadnavis’ mass outreach campaign in Baramati on Saturday.
The police earlier denied that lathi-charge was used.
“My first question about the protest was how many people (NCP workers) were there...there were only seven people, and is there any need for police to resort to lathi-charge for seven people?” Fadnavis asked.
When the police chased them, they ran away, he said.
“I would like to ask them, will it be okay if our party workers create ruckus in public meetings held by Sharad Pawar...is it the way?” he said.
He asked if there was a rule that nobody from other parties should hold a public rally in Baramati.
“Is there an Article 370 imposed in Baramati or is Baramati separate from Maharashtra?” he quipped.
Fadnavis said if the opposition parties come to BJP’s strongholds for public meetings, his party would help them.
“What is the problem...ultimately we live in a democracy, and in a democratic system, everybody has the right to hold public meeting, but what kind of a way it is that the chief minister should not enter their (NCP) town and hold a meeting?” he asked.
Asked about the alleged multi-crore irrigation in which NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s name has cropped up, he said the case was in the last phase as its final hearing was underway in the Bombay High Court.
“Whatever proofs and reports we have, we are submitting them in the court in the form of affidavits...all the things before the high court are crystal clear,” he said.
On some NCP leaders saying that Sharad Pawar had to face problems because of Udayanraje Bhosale, the party MP who joined the BJP on Saturday, Fadnavis said it now appears to be a case of “sour grapes”.
“When Bhosale was in the party, the NCP projected him and sought votes. When their ‘Shiv Swarajya’ yatra (a pre-poll mass contact programme) was announced, the NCP wanted that he should lead it and an announcement was made about it,”he said.
“Now (that) he has left, he has become bad...I think people of Maharashtra will give a reply to the NCP in the elections,” the chief minister said.
Bhosale, a descendant of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, on Saturday quit his Lok Sabha membership from Satara to join the ruling BJP.
Fadnavis expressed confidence that Bhosale will win the by-election from Satara with a huge margin.
Talking about his agenda for next five years if his party comes back to power, Fadnavis said in the last five years, his government’s thrust was on watershed management.
“In the next five years, our focus will be on making the state drought-free by diverting excess rainwater to scarcity-hit and rain-deficit districts,” he added.