The Maharashtra Assembly on Sunday saw barbs flying between former allies Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray taunted his predecessor Devendra Fadnavis over the latter's impassioned pre-poll "Me punha yein" (I will return) assertion, which recently gave rise to many social media memes.
Fadnavis, on his part, said Thackeray should now fulfill his earlier demand (from before the Assembly elections) of Rs 25,000 per hectare to farmers for crop damages.
Demanded immediate assistance of ₹25,000 per hectare for the unseasonal rain affected farmers in the State Legislative Assembly today.
CM Uddhav Thackeray ji had already demanded this assistance while touring in affected areas.
Now its time to fulfil that demand !
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) December 1, 2019
'Won't do anything at midnight'
Describing Fadnavis as a friend, Uddhav also said he does not view him as an Opposition leader.
"I never said I will come back, but I came in this House," Uddhav said while congratulating Fadnavis.
"I can assure this House and people of Maharashtra that I will not do anything at midnight. I will be working for the interests of the people," he said. Uddhav's swipe was apparently about the early morning hush-hush swearing in of Fadnavis as chief minister on 3 November, along with NCP leader Ajit Pawar as deputy chief minister, after night-long dramatic political developments in Mumbai and Delhi.
Appealing to the House to minimise farmers' woes, Uddhav said, "The aim of this government is not only to waive farmers' loans but we also need to reduce his worries as well."
"Those who were in the Opposition for several years are now with me to form the government whereas friends (BJP) have gone away to sit on Opposition benches in this House," he said.
The Shiv Sena chief said he has no hesitation in admitting his friendship with Fadnavis. "I will not hesitate to admit that we have been good friends for a long time. Had you listened to us, I would have been sitting at home watching today's developments on TV," Uddhav said.
NCP minister Jayant Patil also targeted Fadnavis. "He (Fadnavis) said he would return, but didn't say where he will sit (in the House)," Patil said.
Patil also said, "Recently, Narendra Modi praised NCP MPs in the Rajya Sabha, saying that they never protest in the Well in the House. We should abide by what Modiji says and avoid trooping into the Well."
The NCP leader expressed confidence that Fadnavis won't be part of any efforts to dislodge the Thackeray-led government of the Sena-NCP-Congress combine.
Nana Patole elected Speaker, Fadnavis becomes Leader of Opposition
During the proceedings on Sunday, senior Congress MLA Nana Patole was elected Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. Pro tem speaker Dilip Walse Patil made the announcement after BJP candidate Kisan Kathore withdrew his nomination earlier in the day.
Uddhav and some senior MLAs then escorted Patole, 57, to the Speaker's chair. "I am happy that the son of a farmer has occupied this post," Uddhav said.
Uddhav and BJP legislature party leader Fadnavis lauded Patole's work as a legislator and farmers' leader.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis was elected as Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.
Uddhav congratulated Fadnavis on his election and said he had learnt a lot from his predecessor. The chief minister also said he "won't ever leave the ideology of Hindutva."
"I have learnt a lot of things from Devendra Fadnavis and I will always be friends with him. I am still with the ideology of Hindutva and won't ever leave it. In the past 5 years, I've never betrayed the government," he said.
After a month of intense power struggle that saw long-term allies parting ways and bitter rivals forging an alliance, the Maha Vikas Aghadi led by Shiv Sena chief Udhhav Thackeray on Saturday sailed through the trust vote in the ongoing special Maharashtra Assembly session, with 169 votes in favour of the coalition.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Dec 01, 2019 17:13:10 IST