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Political war hots up: Sena skips Cabinet meeting

Published On : 08 Jun 2017   |  Reported By : Courtesy : The Hindu   |  Pic On: Photo credit : The Hindu

Mumbai (The Hindu): Intensifying politics over the farmers’ strike, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday boycotted the State Cabinet meeting demanding a complete loan waiver. “Our demand is clear; we want farm loan waiver. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should come clean and disclose his plans of loan waiver to our party president Uddhavji Thackeray. The Sena should be consulted before announcing any decision,” said Industries Minister Subhash Desai.

Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made light of the matter. “There is no discord in the Cabinet. The Sena ministers did not boycott the meeting, but sought permission not to attend it, which the Chief Minister granted. Loan waiver is being discussed. We shall definitely listen to suggestions from the Sena president once he returns from his foreign tour.”

Transport Minister Diwakar Raote from the Sena, however, denied that they sought permission from Mr. Fadnavis to remain absent, and insisted that his party ministers did not attend it.

Ahead of the Cabinet meeting, the Sena ministers held a meeting at the official residence of Industries Minister Subhash Desai.

SSS may quit

Despite tension between the parties ever since they joined hands to form the government, this was the first time that the Sena boycotted the Cabinet meeting. The BJP’s another ally, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, is contemplating to quit the alliance.

Sources in the Sena hinted that the party will not walk out of the government, but instead play an opposition from within. “At present, we are playing the role of an opposition despite being in the government. Walking out will mean giving an open field to the BJP. Why should we gift the BJP such an easy way-out? We will continue to do what we are doing by remaining within the government,” said a senior Sena leader, who did not want to be named.

The BJP, on the other hand, has limited options till the presidential elections in July, where it will need the Sena’s support if polling is held.

The Sena on Tuesday also hit out at the Centre for pushing debt-ridden farmers into greater despair and allowing their farms to fall into ruin by ‘brandishing the knife’ of demonetisation. “After years, monsoon last year brought hope to the farmers and they had a bumper production, but the knife of demonetisation led them to sell their produce at dirt cheap rates. They couldn’t even recover their input costs and as a result, debt-ridden farmers plunged deeper into losses,” said an editorial in Saamna.

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