Mumbai: In a scathing attack on the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Maharashtra's ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi on Wednesday demanded Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis justify his claims of the state getting huge financial help from the Centre to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.
"The Centre has yet to clear this state's GST dues of over Rs 18,000 crore for 2019-2020... other things Fadnavis has claimed have not been received, whatever has come is for ongoing schemes. Where is the money? From where it came and which account it has gone?" senior Shiv Sena leader and Transport Minister Anil Parab pointedly asked.
Nationalist Congress Party state President and Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil said from Fadnavis' statements, doubts are raised whether he is a friend or enemy of Maharashtra.
"Instead of cooperating, he's busy vilifying all the good work of the MVA government, the state BJP thought it fit to give money to the PM Care Fund but not the CM Relief Fund, he has no faith in the skills of the youth of our state and made misleading statements," he said.
Congress state chief and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat targeted Fadnavis saying rather than working with the government or using his good offices to get a good financial package from the Centre, the Opposition is busy trying to topple the MVA government.
The MVA leaders addressed a joint press conference on Wednesday, and countered all issues raised by the BJP leader at his media briefing on Tuesday, and termed his statements as imaginary.
Elaborating, Parab said the foodgrains worth Rs 1,750 crore or Rs 122 crore for migrants, as claimed by Fadnavis, have not been received, the state paid entirely for the 600 Shramik special trains which has not been refunded and yet Indian Railways gave more trains to Gujarat than Maharashtra.
"The money rightly owed to us - Rs 18,000 crore has not come, the claims of Rs 9,000 crore for cotton and other grains purchases is false, the EPFO money not received, but we spent Rs 12,000 crore under Mahatma Jyotiba Phule scheme," said Parab.
"What the state has got is Rs 4,600 crore for disaster relief which comes every year, nothing separate has come for Covid-19 relief."
As for Fadnavis' contention that the state could raise Rs 2.71 lakh crore as announced in the Centre's package, he said "we have an understanding of the issue and don't need lessons in finance from the Opposition".
Thorat said that under Thackeray's leadership the MVA is working unitedly on all fronts to tackle the pandemic.
"We have built so many hospitals and acquired beds in other hospitals, the migrants who were going on foot were provided with free buses, the government servants, officials, police and party activists helped everybody," he said.
Thorat rued that instead of standing with the government, the Opposition is creating hurdles, but the MVA continues to fight the war against the virus and is committed to bring the state out of the crisis.
Patil said the Covid-19 situation in Mumbai and Maharashtra is far better than the grim predictions by experts, which was not the case with neighbouring Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh.
"Mumbai and Pune contribute around 75 percent of the revenues to the state exchequer, and we have asked for Rs 25,000 crore aid from the centre to tide over the current crisis, but we don't know when it will come. The Centre is offering loans with conditions which are difficult to comply... Fadnavis should help the state in this matter," he urged.
The three leaders reiterated to the people of the state that despite the Opposition's political machinations, the state government was absolutely stable and efficiently tackling the coronavirus crisis.