Speaking in a no-holds-barred interview, on Monday, with Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has shared his views on Rahul Gandhi, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the Ram Mandir issue, the Maratha reservation quota, Sadhvi Pragya's nomination, Yogi Adityanath's Controversial Statements among other topics.
He said, "Even I agree that such statement should not be made. But even if he said it in a speech, why don't you show the 25 good things he said? One wrong statement and you pick it up. Above all, he has been punished for it. Why will this be a point of discussion even after that?"
Fadnavis stated that the Election Commission imposed a ban on Yogi Adityanath for 72 hours and that the statements made by PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are 'left out' citing how emphasis is given on the 'small statement of a third person'
He said, "First thing is- it is clearly written in the Indian Constitution that those who are backward should be given reservation. It has been mentioned in the constitution that the backward caste commission will declare those backward, will get reservation. In Maharashtra, Marathas case went to the Backward Class Commission, in that case, Backward Class Commission gave a report in which it recommended that it is a backward caste, it should get reservation. We gave it to them."
Fadnavis reiterated the constitutional stand of the reservation saying, "Reservation is under the law and we gave them the reservation by following the Constitutional mandate. We didn't do anything unconstitutionally. Our law, our Constitution, our supreme court have given such judgments that this has been regulated."
On being asked whether their different political ideologies was the reason he (Fadnavis) kept targetting his contemporary politician (Gandhi) and made an issue out of him 'almost 80% of the time', Fadnavis said that he bore no animosity towards Rahul Gandhi.
"I never target Rahul Gandhi. You should understand that in this country, even though Rahul Gandhi is the Congress president, nobody in the 'Gathbandhan' sees him as a Prime Ministerial candidate," he said.
Adding that he had a brusque way of talking, Fadnavis quoted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying that he too felt 'it (dynasty) had become a liability for the Congress'.
Explaining the origins of the Ram Mandir issue, Fadnavis said that 'Ram Mandir is not an issue to fool around using an ordinance', adding that they did not have the required numbers in Rajya Sabha.
"First of all, you must understand that Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was made on December 6, 1992. Now we have to build a magnificent Ram Mandir. Ram Mandir already exists there. As far as the ordinance is concerned, how long does an ordinance last? For six months. We do not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha. What will happen after six months? Will you fool people by passing an ordinance? Will you tell them that we have done our bit by passing an ordinance? This will not happen. Ram Mandir is not an issue to fool around. The case is in the Supreme Court. After High Court's decision and the evidence presented in the Supreme Court, I am sure that the decision will be in the favour of Ram Mandir and a grand Ram Mandir will be built."
When questioned on the alliance with Shiv Sena even after the party had been publically speaking against the BJP in the recent past, Fadnavis responded clarifying that 'even when we were upset with each other; we were in government together'.
He added : "See, our ideology is not different. We are united by the idea of Hindutva. BJP and Shiv Sena have come together because of their Hindutva ideology. I do agree to this that for three years we had some disagreement because we stayed apart. But even after fighting separately we came back together. We had been together for 30 years. And we will remain together in the coming years. Because we are linked by a thread.''
The third phase of Lok Sabha polls is scheduled on April 23 in which Maharashtra will vote for 15 constituencies - Jalgaon, Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Raigad, Pune, Baramati, Ahmednagar, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, and Hatkanangle. The votes will be counted for all the constituencies on May 23, 2019, and the results will be announced on the same day.