“The Chief Minister says Maharashtra is “Sujalam Sufalam” in interviews. I can’t blame him – how will those sitting in air-conditioning in Mumbai understand the situation of poor people in Marathwada?” said Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan at a rally in Jalna as part of the Congress’ statewide Jan Sangharsh Yatra.
Blaming the BJP-Sena government for releasing ads in newspapers to boast about its achievements over the past four years, Chavan said that the Chief Minister was busy promoting himself despite promises of fair crop prices, clean drinking water, and farm loan waivers remaining unfulfilled.
Focusing on drought in Marathwada, which is facing severe water scarcity this year, Chavan accused Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ flagship Jayukt Shivar of being the biggest scam in Maharashtra.
“When the Jalyukt Shivar was announced, we did not criticise the scheme because it was supposed to benefit Maharashtra. But it has turned into a “Jholyukt Shivar” that has only benefited contractors associated with the Shiv Sena and the BJP,” said Chavan.
Despite thousands of crores being spent on the Jalyukt Shivar, the water table in Maharashtra has fallen by 2 to 3 metres according to a state government report.
“The BJP says that satellite surveys prove that there is no drought in Jalna. Can they see if you have bhakris in your house through satellites?” asked Chavan.
Chavan hit out at BJP ministers from Marathwada for being blind to the misery of the people when the region was getting water only once every 8 days.
“While Marathwada is suffering from drought, Sambhaji Nilangekar is surveying the region with mobile phone torches at night and Pankaja Munde is in the US!,” said Chavan.
Diesel and petrol prices were on their way to reaching the Rs. 100 mark but were reduced only after the Congress protested against the government, Chavan said. He also hit out at the Prime Minister for making grand promises of reducing fuel prices.
“Prime Minister Modi is laughing in posters at all petrol pumps across India. This is a cruel joke on the people – he’s laughing because he has fooled the people of the country,” he said.
He added that small businessmen were living under a constant fear of income tax raids, demands for accounts and checking of records. Not only shopkeepers and traders, but also educated youth, will give the BJP a fitting reply in 2019, said Chavan.
“The educated youth of Jalna are being asked to sell pakoras. Why did they get an education, then?” asked Chavan.
Pointing to a recent RTI query that revealed shocking numbers of mother and infant deaths across Maharashtra, Chavan accused the Chief Minister of ignoring healthcare in the state.
“80,000 mothers and babies have died in Maharashtra because of poor healthcare in the past 2.5 years – but the CM does not care,” said Chavan.
Questioning the hypocrisy of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra, Chavan said that the Shiv Sena speaks against the BJP and the BJP speaks against the Sena. This was a classic example of “Aatun kirtan, varun tamasha” (drama in the name of prayer), he said.
“The Chief Minister says we (the Shiv Sena and BJP) are brothers. Yes, they are brothers who are out to divide Maharashtra between themselves and loot the state,” Chavan said.