Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday mocked the Maha Vikas Aghadi over its excitement following the victory of an MVA-backed candidate in Kasba Peth bye-election, saying the BJP has historically swept state and general elections after a few setbacks in bypolls.
Speaking in the legislative assembly during the debate on the governor’s address to the joint sitting of both Houses, Shinde said, “Now in the next elections, I am also with the BJP. We are the Shiv Sena that contested the last election in alliance with the BJP while you all had contested the election separately.” The undivided Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray and the BJP had contested the last state polls together, though they fell out after the results. Shinde later broke away from Sena and joined hands with the BJP to become the CM. His group was recently recognised by the Election Commission as the real Shiv Sena and given the party’s ‘bow-and-arrow’ symbol.
Shinde said the Shiv Sena and BJP have identified what went wrong in the Kasba Peth bypoll and the government will win over the people of the constituency in 2024 when assembly elections are to be held in Maharashtra.
Two Assembly segments in Pune district – Kasba Peth and Chinchwad – voted on February 26 in bypolls necessitated due to the death of BJP MLAs Mukta Tilak and Laxman Jagtap, respectively.
Of these, the Kasba Peth bypoll was won by the Congress, a constituent of the MVA, with a margin of 10,950 votes. BJP candidate Ashwini Jagtap, the wife of late MLA Laxman Jagtap, won from Chinchwad by defeating Vitthal alias Nana Kate of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), another MVA partner, by 36,168 votes.
“How is it that the NCP is rejoicing over the win in Kasba saying the common man defeated the BJP... Then can it be said that people defeated you in Chinchwad,” he asked.
Despite the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s foot march from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, the party lost all three assembly polls in the northeast, he said, referring to the BJP’s dominance in the recently held elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
Shinde hit out at the Opposition for calling his government “illegal”. He said, “We have done nothing wrong and functioned on merit.” About his government’s achievements, Shinde said his work is not focussed on elections.
“Last year in Davos, Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth Rs 80,000 crore were signed. But investments of not more than Rs 10 crore came. Whereas now, MoUs worth Rs 1.38 lakh crore have been signed,” he said.
The CM said his government has removed what he called “speed brakers” on infrastructure projects and expedited many of them.
When the 337-km Metro network is completed in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas, “60 to 70 lakh vehicles will go off the roads”, he said.
He said 5.21 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation by his government.
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