BJP leader’s claim on cen­tral funds kicks off row in Maha

Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - - Front Page - Sm­riti Kak Ra­machan­dran let­[email protected]­su­tan­times,.com ■

FAD­NAVIS DE­NIES BJP MP HEGDE’S STATE­MENT THAT HE WAS MADE MA­HA­RASH­TRA CM TO TRANS­FER ₹40,000 CR OF CEN­TRAL FUNDS

NEWDELHI/MUM­BAI:Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Par­lia­ment mem­ber Anant Ku­mar Hegde again em­bar­rassed his party on Mon­day by claim­ing that the rushed swear­ing-in of Deven­dra Fad­navis as Ma­ha­rash­tra chief min­is­ter last month was a pre-planned move to en­sure that funds worth ₹40,000 crore were re­turned to the Cen­tre.

Fad­navis im­me­di­ately de­nied the claim, which is the lat­est in a se­ries of Hegde’s con­tro­ver­sial state­ments that have made the

BJP un­com­fort­able. He main­tained that he did not take any ma­jor pol­icy de­ci­sions when he was the chief min­is­ter for a few days. “Any­one who un­der­stands how Cen­tral and state gov­ern­ments’ ac­count­ing sys­tems work will not make such state­ments.

The state fi­nance depart­ment can probe this. I think those, who make such state­ments and oth­ers who are giv­ing re­ac­tions to them, are both wrong,” Fad­navis said.

Hegde, who is a five-time law­maker from Kar­nataka’s Ut­tara Kan­nada, claimed that Fad­navis knew if the Congress, Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena govern­ment comes to power, it would mis­use the funds meant for de­vel­op­ment. “So it was de­cided that there should be a drama. Fad­navis be­came CM [chief min­is­ter], and in 15 hours, he moved ₹40,000 crore back to

the Cen­tre,” news agency ANI quoted Hedge as say­ing.

Fad­navis was sworn in be­fore 8am on Novem­ber 23 hours af­ter the Pres­i­dent’s Rule in Ma­ha­rash­tra was with­drawn at 5.47am. The Pres­i­dent’s Rule was clamped on Novem­ber 12 as gov­er­nor Bha­gat Singh Kosh­yari told the Cen­tre that no party was in a po­si­tion to form the govern­ment af­ter the BJP and its old­est ally, the Sena, parted ways amid dis­agree­mentsovere­qualpow­er­shar­ing. The BJP-led govern­ment in Ma­ha­rash­tra col­lapsed last week as Fad­navis ad­mit­ted he did not com­mand a ma­jor­ity and paved the way for the Se­naNCP-Congress com­bine to take power.

Hegde has reg­u­larly made news for his con­tro­ver­sial re­marks. He was booked for hate speech in 2016 af­ter he said that as long as Is­lam ex­ists, ter­ror­ism will ex­ist. There was an up­roar in Par­lia­ment in De­cem­ber 2017 over Hegde’s com­ment that the BJP will change the Con­sti­tu­tion by ex­clud­ing the word sec­u­lar from its pream­ble. Hegde was then a Union min­is­ter. Also in 2017, he was ac­cused of beat­ing up doc­tors in Kar­nataka for fail­ing to at­tend to a mem­ber of his fam­ily.

In Jan­uary, Hedge was again in the news when he said “the hand that touches a Hindu woman must not ex­ist” while re­fer­ring to in­ter-re­li­gious mar­riages.

Even as the BJP lead­er­ship cau­tioned all its law­mak­ers and min­is­ters against mak­ing reck­less com­ments, Hegde con­tin­ued to flout the ad­vi­sory.

He at­tacked the Ker­ala govern­ment over its han­dling of the protests over the en­try of women of all ages into the Sabari­mala Tem­ple last year and called it “day­light rape” of the Hin­dus. He later re­ferred to the op­po­si­tion par­ties as “crows, mon­keys, foxes, and don­keys”.

In May, Hegde deleted a se­ries of tweets in which he seemed to sup­port free­dom of ex­pres­sion of those who wanted to have a de­bate on Ma­hatma Gandhi’s as­sas­sin, Nathu­ram Godse. The tweets came as the BJP was try­ing to deal the con­tro­versy over its then Lok Sabha can­di­date Pragya Thakur’s com­ments call­ing Godse a pa­triot.

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