Mumbai (The Hindu): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah on Saturday ruled out mid-term elections in Maharashtra while singling out Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for praise. “Mr. Fadnavis is doing a good job. If he has said his party is prepared for mid-term polls, it should not be misinterpreted. What he has said is that if mid-term polls were to be held, we are prepared for it. We are, and we will win. However, this government will complete its five-year term.”
Addressing the media after a meeting with the party’s core committee in the State, he complimented Maharashtra for a commendable agricultural growth rate that he said has risen from 8% to 20%. “The specific parameters for assessing this agro-growth trajectory is more discerning, and this makes the increase truly laudable.”
Mr. Shah said the party is pursuing decentralisation of power and boards and committees in the State will be reconstituted. Several public trusts, state boards and religious bodies like MHADA and Siddhivinayak Trust are awaiting members from the ruling dispensation close to three years after the new government was formed.
He said the State has received 15% of the funds disbursed by the Centre for urban development in the country. “The same can be observed in the grants to local bodies, where the State has been consistently getting increased public financing.”
Emphasising the distinction between job creation and employment opportunities, he said, “Under the Mudra Bank scheme, over 7.64 lakh educated youth were given loans (between ?10,000 and ?10 lakh) without any guarantees or guarantors. This helps job creation through enterprises the recipients have set up. We have opened avenues for ‘job creators’.”
Mr. Shah, who is on a three-day visit to strengthen the party organisation in the State, is scheduled to meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday. He said the BJP will consult its allies before finalising the NDA’s presidential candidate, in relation to ally Shiv Sena, which has often been critical of the BJP and the Modi government, suggesting M.S. Swaminathan, known for steering India’s Green Revolution, as its presidential choice.
The Shiv Sena had earlier said it may choose an independent path in the election to the highest constitutional office. It had backed Congress nominees Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee in the last two presidential elections.
He also said the party is in favour of small States. “Once we decide something about it, we will announce it.” Mr. Shah’s comment about smaller States comes ahead of his meeting with Mr. Thackeray, who been consistently opposing the demand for a separate Vidarbha State to be carved out of Maharashtra. The demand had been supported by Mr. Fadnavis when the BJP was was in Opposition.
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