‘They couldn’t understand their own MLAs, how can they govern the state?’: Independent Maharashtra legislator Prakash Awade on Shiv Sena
In 2019, Prakash Awade left the Congress and contested the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly election as an Independent candidate from the Ichalkaranji assembly constituency in the Kolhapur district. After winning, the Independent MLA has been offering “issue-based” support to the Opposition BJP. As the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government faces an uncertain future amid the rebellion led by Shiv Sena MLAs, Awade spoke to The Indian Express about his experience with the regime and his decision to support the BJP.
I would have been the first one to point out how the ministers of this government were partial when it came to the distribution of funds and schemes. In my assembly constituency, there was a concentrated effort to ensure leaders of their party got stronger at my expense. Attempts were made to bypass me and get their leaders promoted. However, being a seasoned player I managed to thaw all such underhand politics.
To give an example, in Ichalkaranji town, we had a brake-testing track for autorickshaws made by taking a loan from a cooperative society. This was to help autorickshaw drivers who otherwise would have to wait for two or more days in Kolhapur to get their vehicles tested. However, just because I was instrumental in getting this made, for the past two-and-a-half years, they refused to sanction this and later, citing some technical issue, did not approve it.
Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, attempts were made to divert jumbo oxygen cylinders and plants from Ichalkaranji to other parts. There have been many such examples which I have flagged for the last two-and-a-half years.
As soon as the government was formed I could see the MLAs were unhappy with them. They were pushed to the corners and uncertain about their futures. I have spoken about this multiple times. What is surprising is that their (Shiv Sena) leaders were blind to it. The writing was clear on the wall. If they could not understand their own MLAs how can they govern the state?
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