BJP Ruled Delhi & Mumbai, Forgot Vidarbha: Nagpur on 2019 Polls
The hometown of Devendra Fadnavis and Nitin Gadkari, Nagpur is the winter capital of Maharashtra.
“The 'mahagathbandhan' is a baseless, senseless, and visionless alliance,” said Vishlesh Godhani, an engineering student from Nagpur.
Many others echoed Godhani’s thoughts as The Quint’s chaupal reached Nagpur to speak to the citizens ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The hometown of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Nagpur is also the winter capital of the state.
“They are focusing only on how to oust PM Modi from the government. They don't have any vision for the development of the country. Their only aim is to remove Modi from the government,” said Prajakta Kulkarni, another student.
“They don't have one leader who can lead. Here, BJP is the only leader. That is why, it makes a difference,” said Ratnakar Mahajan, a resident.
However, another resident, Arun Mankar said that the NDA is itself a mahagathbandhan of 44 parties.
“The Modi government itself is a mahagathbandhan of 44 parties. If a Modi-led mahagathbandhan of 44 parties is feasible, why is a Congress-led mahagathbandhan not feasible?” he said.
BJP Wants To Rule Delhi and Mumbai at Vidarbha’s Cost
One of the most crucial issues that the region has been grappling with is the demand for Vidarbha as a separate state.
“To be very honest, the present BJP government in the state has ditched the people of Vidarbha. In 2014, they made promises for Vidarbha. Once they were in Mumbai and Delhi, they comfortably forgot about the issue of a separate state,” said Nitin Ronghe, an activist and a Nagpur resident.
“BJP wants to rule Mumbai and Delhi at the cost of Vidarbha and abandon the people of this region,” he added.
The students participating in the chaupal, however, did not support the demand.
“Why do we need a separate Vidarbha? We are proud citizens of Maharashtra. We want the history of Maharashtra, the legacy of Shivaji Maharaj, to remain intact. We don’t want a separate state,” said Kulkarni.
“We have seen both Congress and BJP as leaders, but the number of changes that have come including GST, demonetisation, etc, all of this has helped Nagpur develop tremendously,” another student, Nidhi Joseph said.
‘BJP a Bigger Failure for Farmers Than Congress’
Arun Kedar, a farmers’ activist affiliated with the Shetkari Sanghatana said that the BJP government in the state and the Centre was a bigger failure than the Congress.
“For farmers, the Modi government was a bigger failure than the Congress government,” he said.
“BJP was wiped off in the five state elections. It wasn't wiped off just like that, it was wiped off by the farmers. Congress had said they will waive farmers' loans once they come to power. Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh waived loans in three hours. But we have been fighting for 30 years so that farmers' loans are waived and they get the right prices,” he said.
Prithav Bang, another student said that carving out a separate state for Vidarbha will help solve the agrarian crisis better.
“Farmers are in huge numbers in Vidarbha and the issue of farmer suicides is also a grave concern. If Vidarbha is carved out as a separate state, the focus on these issues will be better,” said Bang.
‘Shiv Sena- BJP Alliance Only to Stay in Power’
Talking about the alliance of the BJP and the Shiv Sena in the state and at the Centre, and factoring in the bitter relations between them, the citizens said that it was an arrangement only to remain in power.
“There is no sympathy left for both the parties in the region. They can't afford to lose power in the state,” said Ronghe.
“The current situation is such that a mahagathbandhan has been formed on the other side. According to predictions, BJP will not get a majority. In such times, BJP-Shiv Sena cannot afford to go separate ways,” said Godhani
‘Lord Ram is In Our Hearts, Don’t Need a Mandir’
Speaking of the government’s Ram Mandir push, most of the citizens were of the opinion that you don’t need a temple if “God is in your heart”.
“I don't understand one thing, as a true Hindu why are we fighting to build a house for Lord Ram? If they had understood the principles of Hinduism and humanity in its true sense, a movement at the behest of humans and humanity to build a temple would not have been in force,” said Mankar.
“Since they claim to be bhakts of Lord Ram, there’s a saying, ‘Raghukul reet sada chali aaye, pran jaaye par vachan na jaaye’. Tell me one vachan (promise) that they have kept, so why will they keep this one?” said Kedar.
“I don't understand these comparisons between vikas and Ram Mandir. Why is sentimental chaos created in the hearts of voters when before elections?” said Maya Kargirwar, a resident.
Will the farm crisis in Vidarbha ever be solved? Will Vidarbha become the 30th state of India? Will an Opposition ‘Mahagathbandhan’ be able to trump Modi? The city of Nagpur and the region of Vidarbha is definitely ready to answer these questions in the upcoming general elections.
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