Railway engine will not save Sharad Pawar: Devendra Fadnavis

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a rally in Pune on Saturday. (Varun Jha)

TARGETING THE understanding between NCP and Raj Thackeray's MNS, which has been campaigning against the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday took on Sharad Pawar, stating that the NCP chief had taken "railway engine (MNS election symbol) on rent".

"The railway engine will not save Pawar. The engine has broken down. This is not the Pune that belonged to Sharad Pawar and Suresh Kalmadi. This is now a city where Metro and Ring Roads are being constructed… We will make NCP a nano party in this election," Fadnavis said at an election rally in Pune in support of Kanchan Kul, the BJP candidate from Baramati.

He added that while Pawar had only "showed dreams" about infrastructural projects in Pune, the state government headed by him was turning them into reality.

Fadnavis further said that Pawar was busy with the "beti bachao (save the girlchild)" campaign, in a reference to the NCP chief campaigning for his daughter Supriya Sule, the candidate from Baramati.

Claiming that the BJP-led state government had started major infrastructural projects in Pune, he said: "You (Pawar) only showed dreams of the airport for last 20 years. But we are actually making it happen. We are also giving a Ring Road worth Rs 20,000 crore. We have solved water, irrigation problems."

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country has progressed in sectors such as agriculture and insurance, among others, Fadnavis added.

Other leaders at the rally included Dalit leader and Union minister Ramdas Athawale, Shiv Sena MLA Vijay Shivtare and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha chief Mahadev Jankar.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari also addressed an election rally in Pune, where he promised that if the BJP-led alliance came to power again, it will place broad guage Metro on the routes from Pune to Ahmednagar, Pune to Lonavala and Pune to Solapur.

Gadkari was campaigning for Girish Bapat, the BJP candidate from Pune Lok Sabha seat.

"The irrigation projects that have been stalled for the last 15 years will be started within one-and-a-half years. Unless 50 per cent irrigation is ensured in the state, farmers' suicides will not stop. So, we have sanctioned Rs 6,843 crore for irrigation projects. Of this, 25 per cent funds are given by the central government and 75 per cent funds are being provided by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development," said Gadkari.

He added, "(Congress general secretary) Priyanka Gandhi travelled via waterway while campaigning against us. But the same waterway was constructed by us."