By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Sept 4:
All developmental projects being undertaken by different agencies including MHADA and MMRDA will be expedited with Niti Aayog’s assistance in planning which is expected to raise Mumbai’s Gross domestic product (GDP) to $300 billion by 2030, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde stated here late Sunday night.
Far from cries that with the interference of Central agencies, eventually Mumbai will be separated from Maharashtra, these agencies will improve the infrastructure and will help better Mumbai’s image, Shinde said in an obvious reference to Shiv Sena President Uddhav Balasasaheb Thackeray’s recent reaction.
Speaking at a launch ceremony of Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Chandrakant Kirtikar’s book “ Shiv Sena, Lokadhikar Aani Mee” (192 pages, Price Rs 410/), Shinde claimed that several projects were stalled by the previous Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government just to satisfy its ego. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are very cooperative and they are not foisting anything on Maharashtra, Shinde said.
The chief minister heaped rich praises on the “Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti Mahasangh (SLSM)” (a forum to ensure job reservation to local Marathi-speaking people) founding president late Sudhir Joshi and Kirtikar for their yeomen’s contribution in stabilizing base of the “SLSM”. Set up in December 1974, the SLSM was able to give jobs to 80,000 to 90,000 local unemployed in centrally-controlled organizations. Kirtikar braved the police lathi-charge along with SLSM workers to fight for the rights of the locals, he added.
Shinde said that the Shiv Sena patriarch late Balasasaheb Thackeray was deeply appreciative of Shiv Sainiks’ dedication and stood behind them firmly.
“ Far from the CM, I am a hardcore Shiv Sainik. We are here to carry forward Balasasaheb’s preaching so that we are not required to bow before unwanted people. He was referring to a red carpet treatment given by Uddhav Thackeray to outside delegates during a recent INDIA Mumbai meet.
Union Minister Narayan Rane said that the Shiv Sena was formed since the Marathi-speaking people were getting a raw deal from non-Maharashtrian people, especially South Indians. Balasaheb formed the Shiv Sena and the picture changed.
Rane levelled serious allegations against Uddhav Thackeray saying that during his regime as Maharashtra CM, the medicines to cure Covid-19 patients were purchased with a 15 per cent commission. Similarly, he received kickbacks in recruitment at Mumbai-based Hotel Sahara Star since the management wanted to recruit fresh people. Eventually, nearly 140 local Marathi-speaking employees lost their jobs. Even when Air India was taken over by another group, the Shiv Sena-controlled Bharatiya Kamgar Sena received Rs 25 lakh from the new management. Nearly 50 MLAs joined the Eknath Shinde group at an appropriate time since the original Shiv Sena needed the “transformation” he added.
Kirtikar in his speech said “I have been with Shiv Sena for the last 52 years (45 years with Balasaheb Thackeray and 12 years with Uddhav Thackeray). I joined the Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) in November 2022. This book seeks to narrate the Shiv Sena’s journey, When the book reaches every household, the people will realize the various transformations which the party underwent. When the people read the book, more people will join the Shiv Sena (Shinde faction)”, he claimed.
“We could do remarkable work in SLSM due to the active support of Balasaheb Thackeray and the basic Shiv Sena party. However, now the party has been deviating from the path laid down by the Shiv Sena patriarch. Shinde is a humanitarian and a staunch “Hindutva” protagonist. He needs strength to solidify the party, Kirtikar added.
Dr. Sadanand Borse, Editor, “Rajhans Prakashan”, Pune, the publisher of the book, in his speech dedicated the book to the Shiv Saniks. He recalled how Kirtikar, who was a coin and note examiner in RBI, rose to become SLSM leader. Later he served 20 years as an MLA from Malad constituency in Mumbai and served two terms as an MP from Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency.
A host of leaders of the Shinde faction including MPs Pratap Jadhav and Rahul Shevale, former MP Anand Adsul, and Maharashtra Ministers Uday Samant, Deepak Kesarkar, Sandipan Bhumre, and party workers were present.