Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday dismissed BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde’s claim that he was made CM last month despite lacking majority only to ‘protect’ Rs 40,000 crore central funds from being ‘misused’.
Neither the Centre asked for any funds nor the Maharashtra government sent it back, Fadnavis asserted even as the opposition Congress and the Shiv Sena slammed the former BJP chief minister.
Former Union minister Hegde on Saturday sought to give a new twist to the last month’s political drama in Maharashtra, claiming it was played out to ensure that the funds meant for development works were ‘protected’.
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“You all know that recently in Maharashtra for just 80 hours our person was chief minister, but soon Fadnavis resigned. Why did we have to do this drama? Didn’t we know – despite knowing we don’t have majority, why did he become CM? This is the question commonly every one asked,” Hegde said.
“More than about Rs 40,000 crore was under CM’s control. If NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena came to power certainly that Rs 40,000 crore would not have gone for development work and would have gone for different things (misused),” he said at a meeting, reportedly during campaign in bypoll-bound Yellapur in Karnataka.
Fadnavis, however, dubbed Hegde’s claim as “absolutely wrong”, and said nothing of that sort happened.
“It is absolutely wrong and I refute it completely. A company of the central government is implementing the bullet train project, where the Maharashtra government’s role is restricted to land acquisition only. Neither the Centre asked for any funds nor the Maharashtra government sent it back,” Fadnavis told reporters here.
The reports are “completely wrong”. The Maharashtra government has no role in the bullet train project other than land acquisition, he asserted.
“Not a single rupee of Maharashtra government has been returned to the Centre from any other project,” the former chief minister said.
“I have not taken any such policy decision during my tenure as chief minister or caretaker CM. Those who understand the accounting system of the Centre and states, they would know no such transfer of funds takes place,” he said.
Fadnavis said the state finance department should conduct necessary inquiry and bring out the truth.
“It is wrong to issue such a false statement and seek (our) reaction over it,” the BJP leader said.
Latching on to Hegde’s claims, the Shiv Sena and the Congress slammed Fadnavis.
The Shiv Sena described Hegde’s claim as treachery of Maharashtra.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Fadnavis and the BJP were “criminals” of people of Maharashtra.
The state chief secretary and CM Uddhav Thackeray will clarify on the issue, Raut said.
The Congress, meanwhile, demanded an answer from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the BJP MP’s claim on Fadnavis.
“A union minister has exposed the Modi government. BJP’s anti-Maharashtra face has been exposed. Has the federal structure been crushed? Was the Rs 40,000 crore earmarked for the welfare of the public and farmers withdrawn through a a conspiracy? Prime Minister Reply!,” tweeted Congress’ spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.