Facing sustained attack from ally Shiv Sena and the Opposition Congress-NCP over the separate Vidarbha issue, Devendra Fadnavis today declared in the Assembly he is the Chief Minister of entire Maharashtra and asserted there is no proposal “as of this moment” to bifurcate the State.
With the commotion over the issue refusing to die down in both Houses of the legislature, the Opposition demanded in the Council the Chief Minister, who hails from Nagpur in Vidarbha, move a motion putting it unambiguously clear that bifurcation of the State was not on the government’s agenda.
Raising the issue in the Assembly, Sunil Prabhu (Shiv Sena) asked Fadnavis to clarify his stand on the emotive matter and demanded slapping of treason charge against those who raised slogans for a separate Vidarbha State in the House.
Responding to the Sena member, Fadnavis said “There is no proposal as of this moment for a separate Vidarbha before the state government” and it is not right to discuss an issue which is not pending before this House.
“I am the Chief Minister of an “Akhand (united) Maharashtra,” Fadnavis declared. “While BJP has been in favour of (creation of) smaller states, Sena has opposed it.”
“Both the parties are in the government. This is not the government’s stand,” he added, and appealed to the members to put a stop to the discussion on the Vidarbha issue. The Chief Minister, however, hit out at the Sharad Pawar-led party, saying the “NCP doesn’t have any right to seek my resignation.
People have that right.” “Ask NCP’s Praful Patel who has backed separate Vidarbha. Should we discuss in the House what he has said (on statehood issue)?” asked the CM. “We have taken an oath to be true to the Constitution.
The Constitution provides for a member in the House to put forth his views on formation of a separate State. A criminal offence cannot be filed against him for this,” Fadnavis said. The Congress-NCP legislators, however, shouted slogans in support of a united Maharashtra as Shiv Sena lawmakers also joined them.
In an attempt to corner BJP, the Opposition in the Council demanded that Fadnavis move a motion in the House favouring Unified Maharashtra inclusive of Belgaum and Nippani (areas in Karnataka claimed by Maharashtra).
Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said Opposition was not satisfied with the Chief Minister’s reply in the Assembly and would not be pacified till the government brings a resolution favouring a unified Maharashtra.
The proceedings in the Upper House were adjourned three times amid uproar before Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar adjourned the Council ahead of the day’s schedule.