The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) promised secular and inclusive governance on Thursday in a document spelling out its five-year agenda that also pledged to reserve 80% private-sector jobs for local people and full meals for Rs 10, a key election promise of the Shiv Sena that leads the three-party alliance.
In its common minimum programme (CMP) released hours before chief minister Uddhav Thackeray took oath, the Aghadi also said it will look to move out a proposed metro rail car shed that stirred a row three months ago when thousands of trees were felled for its construction at Mumbai’s Aarey Milk Colony.
“The alliance partners commit to uphold the secular values enshrined in the Constitution,” read the preamble of the document, prepared by the three parties after weeks of consultation.
While releasing the document in Mumbai, the MVA leaders also said their government will not discriminate on the basis of religion, creed, caste or language, a major departure for the Sena that built its reputation in Mumbai as a hardline Hindu party that often railed against migrants.
The CMP also promised a farm loan waiver and bigger homes for poor people in Mumbai under the slum rehabilitation programme. There will be two coordination committees, one for the government and the other for the alliance.
“The agenda is to take Maharashtra on a path of progress, not just for those who are heard but also for those voices unheard, irrespective of their religious, social, economical or political background, numbers or views,” said a joint statement by the three parties.
“The alliance being a political working reality for the best interest of the people of Maharashtra, will uphold each and every aspect of the Constitution of India in letter and spirit,” the statement added.
The document was released by senior Sena leader Eknath Shinde, state Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Jayant Patil and state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik was also present at the event held at the Rang Sharda hotel in Mumbai’s Bandra.
“Uddhav saheb has already clarified the party’s stand on Hindutva,” replied Shinde when asked about Hindutva. When asked whether the Sena has gone “secular”, Malik responded: “Secular means every individual will have the liberty to follow his own beliefs.”
The CMP said the government will bring legislation to reserve 80% jobs in private sector for locals. “A person who has domicile certificate and has been residing here for 15 years will be given priority,” Shinde said.
Patil said the details of the farm loan waiver were yet to be decided. “The cabinet of the new government will meet and take its decision,” he added.
The CMP also mentioned Re 1 clinics in every taluka, health insurance cover for every citizen and free education for women from weaker sections of the society.
Agriculture was another focus area.
“The erstwhile government has declared monetary assistance of ~10,000 crore for providing relief to the farmers. During tours made by our leaders, it was observed that the loss is higher than what was declared by the Fadnavis government. Our priority will be to provide them help as early as possible. Distribution of the monetary assistance has been started. We will decide where to intervene,” he added.
Patil said the government will look for alternatives for the Metro car shed in Aarey. “We will not take any decision that would hurt the citizens of the city,” Patil said.
He also said the government will check the commitments made by the previous administration on the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. “A decision will be taken once the government will be formed,” Patil added.
The CMP was criticised by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “It is unfortunate that the common minimum programme of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government does not even mention backward regions of Marathwada, Vidarbha and north Maharashtra in the many announcements made in it. One hopes that the new government will focus on these regions,’’ he said.