NAGPUR: BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday accused the MVA government in Maharashtra of being "anti-Vidarbha" and neglecting the region by not providing funds for its development.
The only development works underway in the Vidarbha region are those approved by Union minister Nitin Gadkari, Fadnavis claimed while addressing BJP workers ahead of the December 1 MLC poll for the East Vidarbha graduates' constituency where the party has fielded Sandip Joshi.
"This government is completely anti-Vidarbha and its approach is the same towards Marathwada and other backward regions," alleged Fadnavis, who hails from Nagpur in Vidarbha.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has "contempt and anger" towards Vidarbha, the former chief minister said commemorating the first anniversary of the MVA dispensation.
"That is why it has discontinued the Vidarbha Statutory Development Board (the term of which expired in April this year) and other projects and did not provide any funds for Vidarbha," he said.
The farmers of Vidarbha affected by floods and other natural disasters are also left in the lurch, he said.
The works pertaining to roads, flyovers, railway over-bridges and other projects in Vidarbha are initiated by Union minister Gadkari, he claimed.
"There is not even one work underway in Vidarbha which can be attributed to this government," the leader of opposition in state Assembly claimed and accused the ruling dispensation of not fulfilling its promises made to people.
"Is this a government or a drama?" he asked.
Fadnavis also said the previous BJP-led government had initiated the 'MahaJyoti' scheme (a training and career guidance institute) for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), but the MVA government has stopped all various welfare measures under it.
Similarly, the Rs 500 crore fund which had been granted to the 'OBC Mahamandal' under the BJP rule has not being spent by the MVA government for welfare of the community, he claimed.
"When we passed the law on reservation for the Maratha community, we had included a section which clearly mentioned that no one can touch the OBC community reservation," he said.
Some people in the current government are creating confusion on the issue of OBC reservation for "political purpose", he claimed.
Reacting to Fadnavis' criticism, NCP leader and minority affairs minister Nawab Malik told PTI that the Centre was sitting on Rs 33,000 crore dues payable to Maharashtra.
"The BJP has no right to criticise the state government. It is the BJP which is anti-Maharashtra. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected development works not just in Vidarbha but in the entire state.
"Our government is doing its best to overcome the situation, but the Centreis not cooperating and not releasing Rs 33,000 crore in dues," he said.
State Congress president and revenue minister Balasaheb Thoratsaid the Opposition was making allegations against the MVA government out of desperation.
"Even people will not take them seriously," he added.
Energy Minister and Congress leader Nitin Raut, who hails from the Vidarabha region, said the state government's focus remained on saving lives during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and helping farmers affected by natural calamities.
"As far as Vidarbha is concerned, two ministers from the region hold important portfolios in the state government," he said.
"We took oath on November 27, 2019 but our actually work started only in January this year. After that we had to prepare for state legislature sessions which were held in Nagpur and Mumbai, and then COVID-19 struck," the minister said.
He said the BJP was trying to compare the work done by them in five years before 2019 to just one year of the MVA government.
"We prioritised checking the spread of coronavirus. We faced all these challenges and worked towards providing relief to the people.
You will see the results soon as the state government has undertaken various development works," Raut added.
State PWD Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan slammed Fadnaviswhile terming the previous BJP government as "anti-Marathwada".
"Except Nagpur, the rest of Vidarbha region was neglected when Fadnavis was CM. The Marathwadaregion also bore the brunt of the neglect by Fadnavis," Chavan said.