In an exclusive interview to News18 Lokmat, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, while touting the development works done in Mumbai and Maharashtra, said that he is ready for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections.
He refuted claims of a cold war between the Deputy CM and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis and said that Devendra Fadnavis had a “big stake” in making him the CM.
Mumbai Pole Plank
“We will fight the elections on our development works. People have lost their lives on these roads. Roads are better, cleanliness is improving, health centers are there…they could have done that using Mumbai civic body’s money. Who was stopping them? People could have benefited from this. You are here for 30 years, we are only for one year… Mumbaikars see the difference.’
“The contractors were in collusion…they are misleading on the FD issue…we are not spending on advertisements for ourselves. Mumbaikars need to know about the schemes being offered by us. They can audit it. Mumbai is an international city, we are trying our best for it. City money should be used for this. We will look into redevelopment projects pending for years. If needed, we will change the rules. We will bring back Mumbaikars who left the city. All agencies, MMRDA, MSRDC, CIDCO will be asked to take up the projects and help people get houses.
“We are helping in cluster redevelopment. We are considering premium and FSI. We cannot let them live in dilapidated buildings,” he said.
On Fadnavis and the cold war between them
“There is no cold war between Devendra ji and me. There are no differences. He is a person with a big heart. I am not a staunch politician. I am not the person to compromise my principles and ideals for the sake of the chair. Devendra ji had a big contribution in making me the Chief Minister. He had approved another deputy CM in the form of Ajit Dada. It takes courage to do some things, it takes a big heart to digest it, he has it. We have friendship, he trusts me. His projects were stopped by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). The anti-unemployed are spreading these rumours.”
next chief minister face
Shinde said it depends on the people. “We work as a team. Our work, development and public interest decisions will help us. Under the leadership of PM Modi, we will win in record numbers. We will fight the assembly elections as a team and get majority. we have worked. People don’t like those people who are just busy in insulting others. We are from the streets. Shinde said, we will continue to work for the state as much as possible till our last breath.
On the claim that they are delaying the elections because they are scared, Shinde said, “The issue of municipal elections is in the Supreme Court. They are also blaming the Election Commission, even advising the Supreme Court. People are intelligent. We are confident of our work, so we are ready to face the elections.”
on mega development
“Our government is completing one year. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavisji and I have taken 350 to 400 major decisions. We have considered the interest of the people of Maharashtra in every cabinet. We haven’t seen any personal gains. We have been working throughout the year with an aim to make a difference in the lives of people,” he said.
“When some projects are delayed, people have to bear the consequences. The financial burden also increases. We removed all these speed breakers and took several decisions one after the other. We have the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After the cooperative sector came closer to Amit Shah, he decided to waive income tax of Rs 10,000 crore. Our every proposal is approved by the Central Government. The focus of Prime Minister Modi is the development of our Maharashtra. That is why Ajit Pawar and his associates came with us. That’s why they have supported us.”
“Maharashtra had lagged behind. Gujarat and Karnataka went ahead. But as soon as our government came, me and Devendra ji started working. Now I am proud to say that Maharashtra is number 1 in foreign investment. We got an investment of Rs 1.18 lakh crore. Infrastructure work is going on on a large scale. The works of the closed metro have been started. Metro 2A, Metro 7 inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister. Nagpur Samriddhi Expressway has been inaugurated.
“There too, the opposition made fun of them because they did not want the development of Maharashtra. He closed the car shed of Aarey because of his arrogance. Metro-3 has been stopped. We removed the speed breaker. Mumbai-Pune link, MTHL will reduce travel time. Sewri-Nhava Sheva project is also starting. Versova to Virar, Mumbai Goa Sindhudurg Access Control Greenfield… We are doing the same thing. We have also taken up the work of Coastal Konkan. It is for the benefit of the people. Time will be saved, fuel will be saved, pollution will be reduced. When the 337 km network of Metro is completed, 60-70 lakh vehicles will be taken off the roads. People will travel comfortably by metro. Carbon emissions will come down.”
He said, “Only Rs 2 crore of the CM fund was spent on medical aid in two and a half years. We have spent Rs 85 crore in one year. Whenever someone demands, I sign wherever I am. If my one signature is saving someone’s life then why not me? There were no pens at that time. He said, “I never know when the ink runs out.”
on PM Modi
“Why shouldn’t I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi? He helped me become the CM. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Devendra Fadnavis supported me. The world is looking up to India because of PM Modi, be it the G20 or his speech in the US,” Shinde said.
When asked about opposition unity, he said, “The truth is that all the opponents are coming together, it is a victory for Modi. you are scared. They hold meetings there and come out and say that Modi is going to become the Prime Minister.