Mumbai (The Hindu): The Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are locked in negotiations over a seat-sharing formula for the elections, but the alliance is yet to fulfil some of its poll promises. A ‘dust-free’ Mumbai, plans to reduce pollution caused by hotels and bakeries, and improving ‘Marathi pride’ are not even being discussed four years after they were made part of the 2012 joint manifesto, alleged leaders of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
There has been little progress on promoting the Marathi cause. The manifesto had promised Lok Seva and self-employment centres in all government departments, a Maharashtra Bhavan dedicated to culture, folk arts and local recipes, a Marathi Sahitya Bhavan, and a Marathi Rangbhoomi Bhavan to elevate Sangeet Rangbhoomi. The only promise that has been fulfilled is to observe February 27 as Marathi Bhasha Din.
The opposition said the Sena-BJP combine has paid ‘lip service’ to the Marathi cause, while making ‘false’ promises for reservations to various communities.
“They played with Marathi emotions and did not keep the word to give reservations (at the State level). Further, there is no sign of the round-the-clock water supply and 100 per cent sewage connectivity for Mumbai,” said NCP leader Nawab Malik.
The promise to make Mumbai ‘dust-free’ has been only on paper, Opposition leaders said. The manifesto had promised, “The surface of roads will be made plain with the help of consultants, and plans will be chalked out to reduce pollution caused by hotels, restaurants and bakeries. Rules shall be made to prevent dust coming out of construction sites. Plans shall be made to store rainwater, and water from sewage water processing will be used for cleaning the roads.”
Reacting to the allegations, the Sena said they need no lessons on Marathi culture from the Congress-NCP combine. The Sena leaders instrumental in drafting the 2012 manifesto said the construction of Maharashtra Bhavan and Sahaitya Bhavan were stuck because of land allocation issues. “Marathi asmita (pride) is the foundation of the party, not only the vacahannama (manifesto). We don’t need lessons from the opposition. We have short-listed land for the two structures, but they got stuck due to the poll code of conduct,” said Trushna Vishwasrao, the Sena’s group leader in the civic body.
Ms. Vishwasrao said her party has kept the 2012 promises of creating virtual education and bringing penguins to Mumbai. The progress on road and sewage projects too has been satisfactory.
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