Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said he was confident of getting a fresh mandate from voters and asserted he would devote his new term in making the poll-bound state drought-free.
The BJP-led government has spent Rs 50,000 crore for farmer welfare in the last five years compared to less than Rs 20,000 crore in 15 years of the Congress-NCP rule, Fadnavis said as he launched his state-wide mass contact campaign ahead of the Assembly polls likely to be held in October.
Fadnavis, who embarked on his two-phase month-long “Maha Janadesh Yatra” (Mega Mandate March), said the campaign is aimed at giving an account to the people of the state what the BJP-led government done in the last five years.
Speaking at a rally at Mozari here in Vidarbha in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Fadnavis said the next generation should not experience drought and hence he wanted to devote his second term to achieve the objective.
“I will save each and every drop of water for the state’s welfare,” he said. In October last year, the government had declared drought in 151 talukas spread across 26 of the 36 districts in the state.
Fadnavis hit out at the erstwhile Congress-NCP government, saying their Cabinet decisions focused on saving “personal interests” of ministers rather than looking after the welfare of the poor.
“These ministers they felt they can continue doing such a thing. Their personal interests were their only objective for being in power,” he charged. Fadnavis said Maharashtra has received adequate financial assistance from the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Previous chief ministers came back empty handed when they approached the Centre for assistance. But, Modiji has given a lot to the state,” he said. Referring to the induction of several opposition leaders into the ruling party, Fadnavis said, “The BJP is not going after anybody pleading them to join.
“Several people are keen on joining the BJP. But, we are taking only good people. Unworthy ones have no place and for them we are houseful and there is no vacancy,” he said. To boost industrial development in Vidarbha, he said, the government has started the ambitious Samruddhi corridor road project connecting Mumbai and Nagpur.
The 700km super expressway project will be completed by the end of next year, said Fadnavis, who is heading the first BJP-led government in the state. In the last five years, the government has built 30,000km of roads in rural Maharashtra. This was the highest ever in five years in any state of the country, he claimed.
“I am coming to the people to give an account of the performance of my government. I am confident of getting a fresh mandate on the basis on my performance,” he said. Fadnavis, who faces re-election in the next few months, said he has never claimed he has been able to fulfil all promises made in the last five years.
“I invite the opposition for an open debate on our performance. If we are not able to prove that we have done double the work of the previous government in five years, I will not go out to seek a fresh mandate,” the BJP leader said.
He said all irrigation projects in Vidarbha are being provided funds and there are no delays.
Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil said the state has been free of communal riots in the last five years.
The BJP-led government was able to resolve pending issues like reservation for Marathas in education and jobs, he said, adding the chief minister’s policies have been inclusive.
Speaking on the occasion, Singh said under the leadership of Fadnavis, the Maharashtra government has taken a slew of decisions for the state’s development.
The defence minister also highlighted the pro-poor and pro-farmer policies of the Modi government.
The first phase of the yatra will be from August 1-9 during which Fadnavis will cover Vidarbha and Nandurbar in North Maharashtra, BJP functionaries had said earlier.
The second phase will be from August 17 to 31 covering areas between Aurangabad and Nashik. The yatra will cover a distance of 4,232 km spread across 30 of the 36 districts in the state, they had said.
He will hold 104 rallies during the yatra, they had said.