New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been using Raj Bhavan as a “den of politics” in states where the opposition parties are in power, Maharashtra minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik has said.
“In all those states that are ruled by the opposition, Raj Bhavan is being used by the BJP as a den of politics. In West Bengal, for instance, the Governor has even been making political statements. The BJP is using Raj Bhavan as a political adda and this is the truth,” Malik said Tuesday night.
Malik spoke to ThePrint amid speculation about a churn in the state’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government — a coalition involving the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress — and doubts about its stability even as Maharashtra battles the coronavirus pandemic.
There have been allegations from the MVA that the opposition BJP is trying to destabilise the state government, and coalition unity has come under question, too, since Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sought to distance his party from the coronavirus situation in Maharashtra, the worst-hit state with over 54,758 cases recorded by Wednesday (over 16,000 cured/discharged and 1,792 deaths).
However, Malik, the Maharashtra minority affairs minister, rejected all such reports, saying Gandhi’s statement is being “twisted”.
“Gandhi only meant that, in Maharashtra, it is not a Congress government alone, which is correct. Maharashtra mein MVA ki sarkar hai (it’s an MVA government in Maharashtra). It is a government of three parties,” Malik said.
“He (Rahul) meant the situation of Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan is different, where only the Congress is in power. In Maharashtra, it is a coalition government. That’s what he meant and we feel that his statements are being twisted. There is no need to worry, there is complete coordination between the three parties and the government is working fine.”
Malik said this isn’t the first time Rahul Gandhi’s comments have been used to create a controversy. “He doesn’t have any such thing in his heart but at times he uses certain words, which end up conveying something else,” he added.
“But it is certain he had no such ill thoughts and he did not have any such intentions. We are a completely stable government and working to tackle coronavirus. We do have the highest number of cases but you will have to see why the numbers are more. We are testing much more than anyone else in the country. We are also taking preventive measures and follow all guidelines of the Centre,” said Malik.
‘Gossip doesn’t bring down govt’
Malik said a “few senior leaders of the BJP” were spreading rumours about the instability of the government.
“There are a number of senior BJP leaders in Delhi who have been briefing the reporters, indulging in gossip. But I can assure you a government doesn’t fall because of gossip,” he said. “They can’t remove a government elected democratically through an undemocratic manner.”
Further lashing out at the party, he said the coronavirus situation was also critical in BJP-led Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh “but not much is being said about it”.
“The high court has been criticising the Gujarat government. The situation there is bad. The BJP is only doing politics… It is quite sad that at a time we are fighting coronavirus they are indulging in politics,” he said.
On the demand for President’s rule from BJP leaders Subramanian Swamy and Narayan Rane, Malik said, even Devendra Fadnavis, the former chief minister who is now leader of the opposition in the assembly, has said there is no such demand from their end.
“Any government, till it does not lose the majority on the floor… the governor does not have the right to remove it. Some people are restless to come to power and they are doing this. As far as Swamy is concerned, he is not even taken seriously by his own party. Fadnavis has said that he doesn’t want President’s rule,” he added. “But there is definitely anxiousness within the BJP to come to power by any means.”
The minister also criticised Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal over the ongoing exchange between Maharashtra and the central government over the transfer of migrants in their hometown.
While Maharashtra claims the railways only arranged half of the 80 trains it had sought, Goyal has accused the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government of not cooperating with the state.
“The Centre is trying to defame the Maharashtra government. Earlier, it was announced that 49 trains will be sent from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai. However, the divisional railways’ manager declared that it would not be possible to send more than 16 trains,” Malik said. “Why did they ask us to make the arrangements for getting the passengers? Who will be responsible for it?”