The Maharashtra CM said the public sentiment was high on nationalism and BJP's theme has always been "nationalism and development".
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said making the state drought-free and getting its economy past the USD 1 trillion mark were the main issues he highlighted during the Assembly poll campaign which ended on Saturday. The state polls are scheduled for October 21 and results will be declared on October 24. Speaking to select group of journalists, Fadnavis claimed the revocation of provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was not the BJP’s main poll plank.
“Since we exposed the Congress on this (Article 370) important issue of national importance, it got prominence. Article 370 was not the main poll plank. Our main agenda is drought-free Maharashtra and achieving one USD trillion economy,” Fadnavis said. He went on to claim the main thrust of his speeches during the campaign were development works carried out by his government as well as plans it had for the next five years.
“For the last few minutes (of the speech), I raised the issue of Article 370 because Kashmir and Maharashtra are part of India. Everyone wants Article 370 to go and the Congress-NCP opposed the move. We expose them through our speeches,” he added. The Maharashtra CM said the public sentiment was high on nationalism and BJP’s theme has always been “nationalism and development”. He, however, justified the BJP’s emphasis on abrogation of Article 370 and said, “There is nothing wrong with it. The entire nation wanted it to be repealed but the Congress-NCP did not do it and so we exposed them. The Opposition is claiming our stand is wrong because they are on the defensive.”
Queried on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s placatory comments on Hindutva icon Veer Svarakar, Fadnavis said, “The former PM tried to do damage control. The necessity of facing polls made the Congress change their stand on Veer Savarkar.” “His (Singh) comments are contrary to what Rahul Gandhi said about Savarkar during the Lok Sabha elections,” the CM added.
Fadnavis, however, said Singh’s claim that Congress supported the abrogation of Article 370 was wrong. “Whenever we spoke about abrogating Article 370, there was good response from the public and the Congress has realised this,” Fadnavis said. Talking about Singh’s comments on repercussions of the “inept handling” of the economy on Maharashtra, Fadnavis said, “Singh may be an economist but he made political statements.
Maharashtra is first in terms of investment in the last three years as compared to 4th or 5th position during the UPA regime.” “Around 25 per cent of start-ups are in Maharashtra. Among the total jobs created in the country, Maharashtra’s share is 25 per cent. In the SME sector, 59 lakh jobs have been created in the last five years,” Fadnavis stressed. Reeling out more figures, Fadnavis said GDSP had grown from 16 lakh crore in 2014, when the BJP-Shiv Sena government took over, to Rs 26 lakh crore in 2019. He said parameters of financial health were well within control and the debt-GDP ratio stood at 16 per cent.
“The state’s economy in terms of job creation and investment-FDI is much better than what it was under the UPA,” he said, adding that what the country was facing was a “little slowdown” and not “recession”. “This is a temporary phase. We changed the tax regime, we brought in the IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code). We expected 7 per cent growth but the projection is 5.8 per cent. For recession, it has to be negative growth rate,” he claimed.
Fadnavis said the economy needed to be accelerated by way of investment and the government itself would take the lead. “In the next five years, the Centre has proposed to invest Rs 100 lakh crore. This will de-bottleneck the economy and create demand and jobs,” he said. The monsoon has been good this year and it will speed up the economy and give a boost to retail demand, he asserted.