No plans to topple Maharashtra government: BJP

No plans to topple Maharashtra government: BJP

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis (AFP)

Amid hectic political developments in Maharashtra involving multiple camps, the BJP on Tuesday vehemently denied the claim that it was out to topple the six-month-old Maha Vikas Aghadi government, led by Uddhav Thackeray. 

However, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said that the MVA government will "collapse on its own" because of "internal contradictions" between Shiv Sena,  NCP and Congress.

"We do not want to topple the government.... hamara kaam bhagana nahi hai,  jagana hai," Fadnavis said. He said that the MVA partners are engaging in "cover firing" to hide its failure in handling the COVID-19 situation by spreading rumours like -  BJP was trying to topple the government and that the Centre wants to impose President's Rule in the state. 

Fadnavis, a former state two-time Chief Minister,  however, said that what the state needs at this stage is "assertive leadership".

Fadnavis's statement comes barely after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar's meeting with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and back-to-back meetings with Thackeray coupled with a statement of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

"I would like to make a differentiation here. We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but we are not the key decision-maker in Maharashtra. We are decision-makers in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Puducherry. There is a difference between running the government and supporting it," Gandhi had said in New Delhi,  during his online media conference. 

Reacting to this, Fadnavis said that Congress has clearly shirked away from the responsibility. "It seems they (Congress and NCP) are trying to put everything in the Shiv Sena and CM....Congress is not just supporting the government but they are part of the government... these are two different things," he said. 

State Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the BJP is leaving no stones unturned to get the MVA out of power but the government is intact. "There is nothing to worry about....they (BJP) are greedy for power," he added.

NCP chief spokesperson and state Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said that the government is united and stable. "BJP is spreading the rumours with a vested interest," he added.

Meanwhile, close Thackeray aide and Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that Opposition should get "quarantined" but he did not name any leader.  "If you go by Gujarat High Court strictures against the government,  they are worst positioned...Maharashtra is doing everything possible to tackle the crisis," he said.

Asked about the statements of MVA leaders,  Fadnavis said that they are playing the role of "constructive opposition".

On charges that BJP was rushing to Governor every now and then,  he said: "The government works under the name of Governor... the Cabinet and Chief Minister plays an advisory role...those who have read Constitution will know about it...it's my duty and my right to approach Governor's office."

On the other side, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar,  who is the chief architect of the MVA government, said that Uddhav Thackeray-led government is safe.  "Devendra Fadnavis is getting impatient," he said.  "There is no threat to the Maharashtra government. All MLAs are with us, any attempt to break them at this time will result in public beating us," he told a TV channel.

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