The Congress on Monday demanded an answer from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over BJP MP Ananth Kumar Hegde's claim that Devendra Fadnavis was made Maharashtra chief minister last month despite lacking majority to 'protect' ₹40,000 crore central funds under the CM's control from being 'misused'.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Karnataka Ananth K Hegde sparked off a major political controversy by alleging that in his 80 hours tenure, the former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis "moved ₹40,000-crore back to the Centre".
This, he alleged, was done to prevent its "misuse" of these development funds by the new Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress government if it came to power.
"A CM has access to around ₹40,000 crore from the Centre. He (Fadnavis) knew if Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena govt comes to power it would misuse funds meant for development. So it was decided that there should be a drama. Fadnavis became CM and in 15 hours he moved ₹40,000 cr back to the Centre," Hegde is reported to have said in Uttara Kannada late on Sunday.
He added: "You all know our man in Maharashtra became CM for 80 hours. Then, Fadnavis resigned. Why did he do this drama? Didn't we know that we don't have majority and yet he became CM... This is the question everyone is asking."
Fadnavis immediately rubbished his party colleague's allegations as preposterous and "100 per cent baseless".
Demanding a response over Hegde’s comment, Congress' spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted: "A union minister has exposed the Modi government. BJP's anti-Maharashtra face has been exposed. Has the federal structure been crushed? Was the ₹40,000 crores earmarked for the welfare of the public and farmers withdrawn through a conspiracy? Prime Minister Reply!,"
Commenting on it, NCP National Spokesperson Nawab Malik said that it is not possible to transfer such a huge amount of ₹40,000-crore back to the centre, and said this is being spread to hide the BJP's defeat in Maharashtra.
"However, if it is indeed done, then its a gross injustice to the state. It will have serious consequences and result in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resignation as the flames of this will spread all over the country," Malik said in a strong reaction.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut termed the report as "a backstabbing and treachery with Maharashtra".
Other Sena, NCP and Congress leaders have interpreted Hegde's statement as "casting serious doubts on the integrity and intentions" of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi government and condemned it.
With input from agencies