MNS Chief Raj Thackeray Wants Maharashtra Polls Deferred To 2020 Due To Floods
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray today said the upcoming assembly polls, due in September-October, should be deferred to the next year because of the large-scale devastation caused by floods in western Indian state.
Observing that it would take time to restore normalcy in the flood-hit districts, Thackeray sought intervention of the Election Commission to postpone the elections. “I would also write to the poll panel on the issue,” he said.
The opposition has been accusing the state government of inept handling of the flood situation. The death toll due to floods in Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune and Solapur districts stood at 29 till Friday.
“The situation in Western Maharashtra is unlikely to be brought under control until October given the large-scale devastation. The code of conduct will come into force in September and the government will stop the relief work citing the same. Therefore, it is better to postpone the polls to the next year,” Thackeray said.
Observing that lakhs of people in Kolhapur and Sangli districts have lost shelter, the MNS chief expressed fear of an epidemic breaking out once the water levels recede. “It will take more time to restore normalcy,” he said.
Thackeray accused the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena of being “ruthless” towards the plight of people and “occupied with politics”. Thackeray, backing the Congress and the NCP on various issues against the ruling NDA, also accused the government of not providing adequate assistance to flood victims.
The MNS, which has witnessed a huge slide in popularity from once sending 13 MLAs to the assembly to no representation, has been struggling to stay afloat in the state politics.
Apparently referring to the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, Thackeray alleged while the ruling BJP can spend Rs 3,000 crore on constructing a statue but it cannot extend adequate relief to save the lives of the people in Maharashtra.
“The Army should have been approached earlier to take charge of the large-scale rescue works in Sangli and Kolhapur. But the BJP and Shiv Sena had no time from their campaigns and politics to think on this line,” he said.
Heavy rains triggered floods in the rivers flowing in the western Maharashtra, affecting districts of Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune and Solapur.
Over four lakh people have been evacuated so far from the flood-hit areas, mostly from Kolhapur and Sangli, apart from Satara, Ratnagiri, Sindgudurg, Raigad, Thane, Nashik and Palghar districts.
Though the flood situation in Kolhapur and Sangli districts showed signs of improvement on Saturday as water started to recede, it would take at least two to three days before water could be discharged completely from these districts, according to officials.