File photo: Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. Photograph:( PTI )
Devendra Fadnavis was speaking at the valedictory event of a day-long meeting of the state working committee of the BJP in Jalna.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Monday countered the Shiv Sena's claim of being "the big brother" in the Sena-BJP alliance, saying his party is not seeking a tie-up desperately and can take on the Congress-NCP combine.
He was speaking at the valedictory event of a day-long meeting of the state working committee of the BJP in Jalna.
"BJP does want an alliance with the Shiv Sena but we are not desperate for it. We want the alliance as custodians of Hindutva and a strong force against corruption. We (BJP) are competent to fight the Congress-NCP combine," he said.
The chief minister said his party believes in Hindutva and wanted to keep the opposition alliance away from power.
Several BJP ministers in the state have stated earlier that an alliance with the Sena, which has often been critical of the BJP-led government, is needed to keep anti-Hindutva forces at bay.
The Sena had said last January that it would go it alone in all future elections.
Earlier Monday, Sena's chief whip in Parliament and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said his party is the "big brother in Maharashtra and will continue to be so".
"There is no proposal from the BJP to form any alliance with the Shiv Sena....We are not waiting for any proposal to be offered to us," Raut added.
Talking about the BJP-led government's performance in the last four and a half years, Fadnavis said that "potholes" of the last 60 years cannot be fixed within five years.
"We need a continuation," he said.
Till 2014, the BJP and Sena, allies for long, had an understanding where the former contested a larger share of Lok Sabha seats and the latter contested a greater number of Assembly seats in Maharashtra.
In the 2014 Assembly polls, which the two parties fought separately, the BJP won 122 seats against Sena's 63. The Sena later joined the government in the state as a junior partner.
Fadnavis also attacked the Opposition for creating a "hue and cry" over the implementation of the recommendations made by the Swaminathan Commission for welfare of farmers.
He said while the Congress sat on the report, the Narendra Modi government has implemented it.
The chief minister said even M S Swaminathan had praised PM Modi through an article for implementing his recommendations.
"The report was submitted during the previous Congress regime but the party did not open a single page of the document. Even Swaminathan wrote that the UPA government did nothing about the report. NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who had served as Union Agriculture Minister, also did not implement the report," Fadnavis said.
He said the proposed "mahagatbandhan" or grand alliance shaping up against the prime minister, has no agenda except to grab power. "They have come together out of their fear of Modi," the CM alleged.
Later, addressing a public meeting in the city, the chief minister listed development works being carried out by the BJP government.
In his speech, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil praised Fadnavis for granting 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community.
"A Brahmin chief minister has given the quota, which (any) Maratha CM could not do," he said.
Addressing the gathering, Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde slammed the erstwhile Congress-led government for "doing nothing" for the state.
"The NCP is steeped into corruption. The Rashtravadi party (NCP) should be named as 'Bharstacharvadi' (corrupt) party".
BJP state unit president Raosaheb Danve took a veiled dig at Shiv Sena minister Arjun Khotkar, who he said is "dreaming" to contest Jalna Lok Sabha seat in upcoming polls, and questionned his "contribution" towards development of the constituency.