Countering the allegations of graft and wrongdoing levelled against his ministers, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis defended his cabinet colleagues, including senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse who was forced to step down earlier this month.
Speaking at the opening session of the party’s state executive meeting in Pune on Saturday, Fadnavis said the allegations — against several ministers, including women and child development minister Pankaja Munde, education minister Vinod Tawde, water resources minister Girish Mahajan, and even party’s state president Raosaheb Danve — were a “false propaganda” by the opposition. “Just as we are taking the development agenda forward, there is an attempt to target our ministers. How can Congress-NCP accuse us of land deals when they have been slammed by the CAG report for grabbing land?” said the CM. “This is a conspiracy… It is like Goebbels [Nazi propaganda minister] propaganda in absence of any evidence.”
Fadnavis gave a clean chit to all his ministers, who have been facing various allegations, and insisted that even Khadse will come out unscathed after the “agnipariksha” (trial by fire).
The chief minister showcased a united front as he recounted the government’s achievements and policy decisions, giving credit to the ministers concerned.
Fadnavis’ defense of his cabinet colleagues comes ahead of the 26 zilla parishad and 10 municipal corporation, including BMC, elections that will take place in Maharashtra between October 2016 and March 2017.
The outcome of these polls, touted as mini-Assembly elections in the state, will be seen as a referendum on the Fadnavis government and could have an impact on its remaining two years in power.