Mumbai: Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has said that BJP's alliance with Shiv Sena will continue, and both the parties will contest the next Maharashtra assembly polls jointly. "Eknath Shinde will continue as Chief Minister", he added.
Piyush Goyal was replying to questions from Rajat Sharma in the show 'Aap Ki Adalat'. His reply comes in the wake of speculations that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar might break ranks and join BJP camp with his supporters.
Goyal said, "I want to make it clear that Eknath Shinde Ji is chief minister of Maharashtra, he is the leader of Shiv Sena. The coalition government of Shiv Sena-BJP is strongly serving the people of Maharashtra. Come and see the pace of development in Maharashtra. Work on Nagpur-Mumbai expressway is going on at super express speed, Metro lines are being set up, religious tourism spots are being developed. Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis Ji are working jointly to serve the people. I want to tell you, Both Shinde and Fadnavis will jointly run the Shiv Sena-BJP government. It is a stable government, and under the guidance of Prime Minister Modi Ji, they will serve Maharashtra. We will sweep the next elections in Maharashtra. The people of the state were groaning when the Maha Vikas Aghadi government was in power."
Asked whether NCP leader Ajit Pawar will join the BJP camp with his supporters, Piyush Goyal replied, " Yeh kamaal ki party hai. This is a party where the leader says, I am resigning or retiring. Then a charade is enacted (dhong racha jata hai). Then there is reconciliation, and the family members are appointed. Parties work for the nation only when they work on the basis of workers and their ability. These are dynastic (pariwaarwadi) parties, where the posts are kept reserved for family members. The people of India will reply to such dynasties. We need not worry, who is coming with us or not. Good people normally join our party."
Asked why 40 MLAs were 'stolen' when the MVA was in power in Maharashtra, Goyal replied: "We did not steal any MLA. If 40 out of 54 MLAs want freedom from a corrupt and inefficient leadership, then the real Shiv Sena belongs to those 40 MLAs, and only a handful remain, which is not the real Sena. We did not steal. I think the legislators who remained, have been stolen. (chura ke rakha gaya hai)."
On Karnataka elections
On Karnataka, Goyal was confident that BJP will retain power. He said, Congress has three claimants for the post of chief minister: Siddaramaiah, D.K. Shiv Kumar and Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge himself.
Goyal said, "During Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', we were surprised why his yatra did not go through those states where elections were on. We were surprised about the secret behind this. Today, I saw Karnataka and I now understand the real reason. The reality is that,it was not 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', he was doing 'Party Jodo Yatra' in Karnataka. There are three claimants for the chief minister's post. Siddaramaiah is unwilling to leave his claim and wants to become CM again, D. K. Shiv Kumar does not want to leave his aspirations for the CM post. Now their all-India president Mallikarjun Kharge has jumped in. He says, forget these two fighting among themselves. As Congress president, I am the most capable one for the CM post. So that 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' was to bring unity among the three. The Yatra did not even enter Gujarat, where election was going on. In Karnataka, I do not find Rahul campaigning. I think their leaders have told him not to come, otherwise their margin of defeat will increase."
On Priyanka Gandhi's allegation that BJP "stole" our MLAs, when we had a government in Karnataka, Goyal replied, "Why do they give tickets to such people, why are they waiting to be stolen? I mean, if Congress fields such candidates, the people of Karnataka should not elect such candidates as MLAs."
On Rahul Gandhi
Lashing out at Rahul Gandhi, Piyush Goyal said, "he lost his membership because of his anger. He should have respected the law. You defame the entire Modi OBC community, and then tell the court that you are not going to apologise. When the court is giving you an opportunity to tender an apology, he could have apologised and the matter could have ended there. You insult an entire OBC community, and then out of 'seenajori' (arrogance), you say I will not apologsze. He not only insulted Modi, he insulted all those from that OBC community whose surname is Modi. The people of this country will never accept this."
Goyal said, "Recently, Azam Khan lost his membership. Whether it is Azam Khan, or Mukhtar Ansari or Rahul Gandhi, whosoever is convicted and sentenced, will lose membership as per law. I was surprised when Congress leader Pramod Tiwari, their Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha, said in a TV interview that Gandhi family members have sacrificed their lives for the nation. The nation's law will prevail when somebody is convicted, but when one is sentenced, how can there be a separate law for the Gandhi family? It smacks of the thinking, 'Me, myself, my party and my family'. The people of India have not forgotten when the Congress party said, 'Indira is India'. Their thinking is, our family is foremost, and the people of India must remain at the back."
On Rahul Gandhi's allegation that BJP government's policies favour only 4 or 5 industrialists, Piyush Goyal replied, "I can confidently say, BJP is the only party which implements programmes without any partiality. Let a single industrialist come forward and say that he has got favours from this government or got contracts without due process and transparency."
On Rahul's allegation that Adani group got ports, airports, mines, power and other projects, Goyal replied, "The first port was given to Adani by the Congress government. The huge solar project was given to Adani, with the Rajasthan chief minister sitting beside him. We never gave any land. Airport contracts were given through a transparent bidding process. The company which gave the highest bid got the contracts."