Maharashtra BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis (PTI)
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday accused the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government of running away from a debate on its "failures on all fronts".
Addressing a press conference on the eve of the two-day winter session of the state Assembly, Fadnavis claimed it is "actually a one-day session which includes only six hours for the passage of supplementary demands".
Fadnavis said the BJP decided to boycott the government's customary tea party on the eve of the session to protest against the ruling dispensation's "failure" to respond to every strata of the society.
The brief session, curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is being held against the backdrop of the MVA government completing a year in office and its encouraging performance in the just held elections to half-a-dozen seats of the Legislative Council (one of them bypoll).
Fadnavis said the government refused the opposition's demand to hold the winter session for two weeks and also refused to announce that the budget session next year would be held in Nagpur.
"The government has failed on all fronts, including handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping farmers affected due to cyclone, heavy rains and floods. The farmers' Diwali festival (this year) was in darkness," he alleged.
The coronavirus infection is on a decline in rest of the country, except Maharashtra, he claimed.
The COVID-19 death toll in Maharashtra has crossed 48,000, which accounts for 35 to 40 percent of the national tally, the former state chief minister said.
"The need of the hour is to do a 'panchnama' (inspection)of the COVID-19 pandemic handling in the state," he said.
The senior BJP leader alleged that there was massive corruption in handling of the pandemic in the state.
"It is unbelievable that the state government is giving itself a pat on the back over handling of the pandemic. The government wants to run away from debating its failures," he claimed.
To a query on the Enforcement Directorate's action against Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik and the allegation that the BJP was using the ED to topple the state government, Fadnavis refused to comment.
"I am not a spokesperson of the ED. The BJP is not interested in toppling the government. Why topple when it will fall on its own," he said.
Fadnavis further said the Shakti Act, to curb violence against women and children, should be debated throughly.
"I don't know if there is enough time in the two-day session. The first day will be for condolence motion and tabling of the supplementary demands, while the second day is for debate," he said.
In a bid to curb heinous crimes against women and children in Maharashtra, the state cabinet on December 9 approved a draft bill that has provisions for stern punishment, including the death penalty, life sentence, and hefty fines, for the perpetrators, and also speedy trial.
"We want the Shakti Act to be effective and it needs a comprehensive debate. The bill should be sent to a joint select committee (of state legislature)," Fadnavis said.
Accusing the government of imposing an "undeclared Emergency", Fadnavis criticised the Uddhav Thackeray-led regime for "going after" Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut.
"We don't agree with all that they say, but to retaliate the way the government did was unacceptable. The court orders against the government in these two cases have been an embarrassment for it (government)," he said.
Fadnavis also said the "arrogance of power" will not take the government far.
"Due to political motive and ego, the Metro work in Mumbai has been postponed by four years," he said, referring to shifting of the Metro car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg.
He also accused the state government of being "non- serious" as it has been unable to get the Supreme Court's stay on implementation of the Maratha quota lifted.
"The apex court, when handing over the quota case of Tamil Nadu to a constitutional bench, did not give interim stay on the implementation, but that happened in the case of Maratha quota," Fadnavis said.