Deccan Herald | 1 month ago | 21-05-2022 | 10:05 pm
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said the Central government's reduction of excise duty on petrol and diesel was not enough and demanded that it be brought down further to what it was six or seven years ago.In a statement, Thackeray criticised the Central government for minimal reduction of excise duty on petrol and diesel.Also read: Centre reduces excise duty on petrol by Rs 8 per litre, diesel by Rs 6"Two months ago, the excise duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 18.42 per litre and today, it has been reduced by Rs 8, while the duty on diesel was increased by Rs 18.24 per litre and now it has been brought down by Rs 6. It is not good to make drastic hikes and then provide minimal reduction," the chief minister said.A real relief would be to bring the excise duty down to what it was six or seven years ago, he added.Earlier in the day, the Central government cut excise duty on petrol by a record Rs 8 per litre and that on diesel by Rs 6 per litre to give relief to consumers battering under high fuel prices that has also pushed inflation to a multi-year high. The excise duty cut will translate into a reduction of Rs 9.5 a litre on petrol and Rs 7 a litre in diesel after taking into account its impact on other levies.
Slamming the dissident Shiv Sena MLAs for having “monstrous ambitions”, minister Aaditya Thackeray on Sunday said even if all the party legislators turn rebels, victory will always be of the party.Addressing the Sena workers in Mumbai for the second consecutive day, he also said that doors of the state and party are closed for the rebels MLAs.“Contest elections again, we will ensure you are defeated,” the 30-year-old son of Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said.Without naming the BJP, he said he felt ashamed that a party, which is in power at the Centre and Assam, have taken the MLAs from another ruling party from a different state and kept them in the north eastern state that is reeling under floods.The rebels were taken to Guwahati as “prisoners”. About 12 to 14 MLAs are still in touch with us, Thackeray said.“When these MLAs come to the state assembly, they should have the guts to see in our eyes and tell us what we have not done for them. The ambitions of these people are monstrous,” the minister for environment and tourism said.Sufficient development funds had been provided to all the legislators, he said, adding that the Shiv Sena has become the voice of the common people.Majority of party MLAs have sided with rebel party minister Eknath Shinde and they are currently camping at Guwahati in Assam, a BJP-ruled state. Shinde and his group have claimed that they are the “real Shiv Sena”. The rebel group said it enjoys a two-thirds majority in the legislature party and will prove its strength in the House. The dissidents have named their group as “Shiv Sena (Balasaheb)”.“There was a lot of respect for Eknath Shinde in Shiv Sena. Only in May he had been asked whether he wants to become the chief minister…I pity him, I am not angry. He could have rebelled in Thane or Mumbai and spelled out his ambitions instead of running away to Surat and then to Guwahati,” Thackeray said.Addressing the party workers on Saturday, Aaditya had given a subtle warning to the party rebels, saying that the road from Mumbai airport to Vidhan Bhavan, the state legislature complex here, goes via Worli.Worli, traditionally a Shiv Sena bastion in Mumbai, is the assembly constituency represented by Aaditya Thackeray.“The road from the airport to the Vidhan Bhavan passes via Worli. It’s good that the rebels left (Shiv Sena). There is no room for traitors in the party,” he had said.Aaditya has started holding meetings with the party workers and office-bearers from Saturday, which is being seen as a move to prevent any erosion of the cadre loyal to the Thackerays.The Mumbai civic polls are expected to be held later this year and the Shiv Sena, which has been ruling Asia’s largest civic body for nearly three decades, is striving to retain its hold over it.The Maharashtra legislature secretariat had on Saturday issued ‘summons’ to 16 of the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, including Shinde, seeking written replies by the evening of June 27 to the complaints seeking their disqualification.
With the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra facing a political crisis following a rebellion in the Shiv Sena ranks, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Sunday convened a meeting of all three coalition partners at his Silver Oak residence in Mumbai and reassured senior leaders that they could collectively weather the storm.“Pawar stressed on collective efforts to fight the political battle against the rebel Eknath Shinde group,” a Congress minister, requesting anonymity, said.With the Shiv Sena likely to get embroiled in legal and legislative challenges as the Shinde-led rebel faction digs its heels in, Pawar reportedly also assured his allies that whatever was required to legally contest (the rebel camp’s claims), would be done.Senior Congress ministers Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan, Shiv Sena minister Anil Parab and senior Sena leader Anil Desai were present at the meeting. Later, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and home minister Dilip Walse Patil also met Pawar.Sharad Pawar reportedly also told the ministers to return to work at Mantralaya. With political uncertainty, ministers have stayed away from their offices, adopting a wait and watch attitude. Sensing that the administration has come to a halt, Pawar reportedly “urged all ministers across Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena to get back to work”.Congress ministers at the meeting brought up the issue of farmers in the state. With the onset of monsoon, farmers are preparing to start sowing seeds. An effective administration at this crucial time is a must, they pointed out.Another concern was farmers’ unrest following a price rise in fertilizers and quality seeds. Congress ministers also raised the issue of farmers failing to access fresh crop loans from various financial institutions. Though kharif sowing should end by July 15, till date, less than 20 per cent sowing has been completed, they pointed out. Moreover, agriculture minister Dadaji Bhuse, who is part of the Shinde-led rebel camp, is himself in Guwahati.Meanwhile, on Saturday, Shinde was appointed as leader by his faction and given rights to take any decision on behalf of the rebels, who are currently staying at a Guwahati hotel. Apart from Shinde and Bhuse, other rebel ministers at Guwahati include Gulabrao Patil, Shambhu Desai, Sandipan Bhumre and Abdul Sattar.The Shinde faction, which has claimed support from 38 Sena MLAs out of total 55, is all set to take its battle to the Supreme Court. The rebel MLAs are planning to challenge the disqualification notices served on 16 MLAs by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal. “The disqualification is applicable had they violated the whip on the floor of the House. Not attending a meeting convened by Uddhav Thackeray outside Vidhan Bhawan cannot justify disqualification,” the camp has argued, pointing out that though it is mandatory to give members seven days’ notice to explain their side, they have been given just two days to do so.The rebels have also questioned the rights of the deputy speaker to initiate action against them at a time when a no-confidence resolution seeking Zirwal’s removal is pending before the state legislative assembly.
MUMBAI: Amid the ongoing tussle for the control of the Shiv Sena between party president Uddhav Thackeray and dissident Eknath Shinde, party leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday dared the rebels to quit as MLAs and face fresh elections, but also said the doors of the party were open for those who wish to return. He expressed confidence that the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) comprising the Sena, NCP and Congress will survive the current crisis. Majority of Shiv Sena MLAs have sided with Shinde and are currently camping in Guwahati, plunging the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Sena, into a crisis. "My open challenge to the rebels is to resign and seek a fresh mandate from their electorate. In the past, Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane and their supporters had resigned as Sena MLAs to join other parties. Even (Union minister) Jyotiraditya Scindia supporters in Madhya Pradesh had resigned as Congress MLAs (in March 2020)," Raut told reporters here. The Sena rank and file are already on the ground waiting for a signal from the leadership, he said, hinting that the party was ready to take on the rebels. Raut scoffed at Shinde's tweet last night, in which he urged the Sena workers to have faith in him and that he was trying to save the party from the "python clutches" of MVA allies. "Don't know if these people are drugged. They have been in power for two-and-a-half years getting the creamest portfolios as ministers," Raut said. In a veiled warning, Raut said there can be a rebellion within the group of rebels as well. "Once they come back to Mumbai, they will know where exactly the rebellion is. We are against using the name of Shiv Sena and Balasaheb Thackeray by their group". Expressing confidence that the MVA will survive the crisis, Raut said, "The rebels claim to have the support of majority of MLAs. So why are they still in Guwahati? Come to Mumbai. I will myself go the airport to welcome them." "I won't be surprised if the rebels attack each other in the Guwahati hotel as they have been forcibly kept there," he claimed. He said the party doors are open for those who wish to come back. "I am in touch with many of them. Let's see if BJP makes Shinde a CM," he said. Referring to the reports of Shinde's secret meetings with BJP leaders, he further said," If you have guts, use your own father's name to get votes or your fathers in Vadodara, Surat, Delhi." He lashed out to at the BJP saying they are sponsoring the rebels when Assam is braving floods causing loss of lives and property. The hotel where the rebels are staying has 340 rooms. It is a 18-storey building and three floors have been booked for the rebels, he said. "I have been sending e-mails to the hotel asking for 40 rooms. I sent an e-mail to Assam chief minister as well who invited Uddhav Thackeray to Assam as a tourist. I wrote to him that we have to hold a programme to boost tourism in Maharashtra and Assam. So we need booking in the hotel. But I haven't received a reply yet," the Sena MP quipped. Meanwhile, in his weekly column 'Rokhthok' published in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' on Sunday, Raut criticised Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis, saying that if he was indeed behind the party legislators' rebellion, then has taken a wrong step. "The hunger of these rebels is huge. If Fadnavis plans to come back to power by encouraging them, then that dispensation will not last. Once again Fadnavis has taken a wrong decision. How will these rebels stay with Fadnavis, when they have left their own mother," Raut wrote. Shinde had a good chance of becoming a chief minister had he continued in Shiv Sena. Shinde would have been the chief minister if the BJP hadn't gone back on its word of rotational chief minister post, Raut said, adding, "It is surprising that shinde wants to go to BJP." The executive editor of 'Saamana' also wrote that rebel MLAs Pratap Sarnaik, Yamini Jadhav, Lata Sonawane and others have cases of money laundering and caste validity registered against them. "One of the rebel MLAs said he was free after the ED cases against him were cleared that he would do whatever BJP says," Raut said. Raut wondered why some rebel MLAs first went to Surat before flying to Guwahati, when the first batch had already reached Assam. "This is a case of research. If the rebellion is Shiv Sena's internal matter, why are the rebels kept in tight security at Surat and Guwahati," he asked. Earlier in the day, Raut posted a tweet targeted at the MLAs, in which he said, "How long will you hide in Guwahati, you will have to come to chowpatty," the Sena MP tweeted in Hindi along with a photo of the state Assembly's Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal looking into the distance. Key government establishments, including the Mantralaya (state secretariat), Vidhan Bhavan (legislature complex), Raj Bhavan and the chief minister's official bungalow 'Varsha' are located in the vicinity of the Girgaum beach, which is also known the Girgaum chowpatty, in south Mumbai. The Maharashtra legislature secretariat had on Saturday issued 'summons' to 16 of the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, including Shinde, seeking written replies by the evening of June 27 to the complaints seeking their disqualification.
JALNA (MAHARASHTRA): Union minister Raosaheb Danve on Sunday said the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra, racked by rebellion in main constituent Shiv Sena, will last "two to three days". Speaking at the inaugural function of an agriculture department building here in the presence of state NCP minister Rajesh Tope, the BJP leader said the MVA should complete remaining development works at the earliest as "we (BJP) will be in opposition only for two to three days". "Time is running out. This government will last for two to three days. The BJP has nothing to do with this rebellion. Shiv Sena rebels have resentment towards Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as development funds were diverted by NCP and Congress," the Union Minister of State for Railway, Coal and Mines said. Queried on the possibility of the Eknath Shinde-led group merging with the BJP, Danve, himself a former state unit chief, said there was no such proposal and if one comes then the senior leadership would take a call. He also said there was no chance of President's Rule being imposed in the state.
Even as political turmoil unfolds in Maharashtra with nearly 40 Shiv Sena MLAs rebelling against the party and staying put at a hotel in Guwahati, the union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has granted central security cover to 15 rebel MLAs.Sources said the list of 15 MLAs does not include rebel minister Eknath Shinde. Among those included are Ramesh Bornare, Mangesh Kudalkar, Sanjay Shirsat, Latabai Sonawane, Prakash Surve and 10 others. The MLAs have been granted Y-plus security cover of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the elected representatives will be protected both, when mobile, and at home.“The decision has been taken after a threat assessment by the Intelligence Bureau and only those MLAs who have a genuine threat have been provided protection,” a home ministry official said.The move comes following reports of attacks on residences of rebel MLAs in Maharashtra by alleged workers of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and its supporters. On Friday, Sena workers had allegedly vandalised Kudalkar’s office in Mumbai. On Saturday, the Pune office of rebel MLA Tanaji Sawant was vandalised with protesters smearing the word ‘gaddar’ (traitor) on its walls.Notably, on Saturday, disqualification notices were served on 16 rebel MLAs, who the Shiv Sena claimed did not attend a party meeting convened by Maharashtra Chief Minister and Sena chief Uddhav earlier this week. The MLAs have been given time until Monday to respond, failing which action would reportedly be initiated against them. The rebel camp, which is seeking legal opinion, may approach the courts, even the Supreme Court.On Saturday, Uddhav chaired a meeting of the party national executive which authorised him to take all decisions related to the party. Six resolutions were passed, including the decision not to allow anyone other than the Shiv Sena to use the name of Bal Thackeray, and to take strict action against the rebel MLAs.Of the 288 members in the Sena national executive, 38 rebel MLAs, senior leader Ramdas Kadam and MP Shrikant Shinde were not present at the meeting chaired by Uddhav. The national executive includes all MPs, MLAs, district chiefs and senior leaders.Earlier in the day, Shinde, in a Twitter post, claimed that protection of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs had been withdrawn on the orders of the chief minister and the state home minister. This, he said, was how the NCP and Congress had been mounting pressure on the Sena MLAs. State Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, however, called Shinde’s claim “mischievous” and “false”.Shinde said “if any harm were to come to our family members, then the Chief Minister and the leaders of MVA government like Mr Sharad Pawar, Mr Sanjay Raut, Mr Aaditya Thackeray will be responsible”.In an earlier video released on social media on Friday, Shinde had praised the BJP. “We will be together in every situation. We will face everything with full unity. We will end up victorious in the end,” Shinde had said.