Amid floods, young Sena MP earns praise for owning to failures of gov, alleges negligence

Dhairyasheel Mane is the Shiv Sena MP from the Hatkanangale constituency

Credit : BBC Marathi

The Member of Parliament, Dhairyasheel Mane, who represents the Hatkanangale constituency for the ruling Shiv Sena in the lower house of the parliament, criticised the Maharashtra government, where his party is a member of the ruling coalition, for showing negligence towards the flood affected areas of the state and its victims. He was speaking to a correspondent of BBC Marathi.

For almost a week now, incessant rains have caused floods in western parts of Maharashtra – mainly Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli districts. Several people had expressed their discontent about how the BJP-Shivsena coalition government handled this flood situation. In fact, after facing a lot of flak from the public, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had cancelled his Janadseh Yatra for a day, to instead, aerially inspect the flood affected regions.

Speaking about the current situation, Mane said, “Compared to the 2005 floods, the natural disaster we are facing right now is 12 times worse. No one knew, or no one could predict such a situation. Of course, there was a problem with the planning. Many of the boats that were being used for rescue operations had punctures or their mechanism was faulty. People were scared of sitting in the boats. There was unforgivable negligence on the government’s part.” He further expressed that it was unfair how Kolhapur was provided 20 boats previously, and today too, 20 boats have been sent to Shirol taluka where thousands of people are stranded in the floods. 



Mane not only criticised the government for its negligence, but also said they all need to be held accountable for this lack of planning and management. “All of us, as representatives of the people, are 100 percent responsible for whatever has happened. The government needs to listen now. If even one of our people is hurt, we will be fully responsible for it”, he stated.

This triggered several positive responses from netizens which reverberated that Mane has spoken like a true leader who is ready to accept mistakes and rectify them. One Facebook user even commented saying, “We are lucky to have Dhairyasheel Mane as our representative, especially in an era of Modi government”, while another user praised Mane saying the current government should learn something from him, and include young leaders like him in their parties for better development of the state.

While many applauded Mane for owning up to responsibilities as a leader, several others have disapproved his statements saying Mane is trying to gain popularity and shouldn’t have talked against the coalition government that he is a part of. Aditya Sakale, a Facebook user says that irrespective of Mane’s efforts to own up to the government’s mistakes, public won’t forgive them as this is all just a ruse to seek attention and popularity until the water level decreases. Sandeep Chavhan, a young Shiv Sena member, expresses in his comment that a party member speaking against his own government will demoralise the party and put it in a jeopardising position, especially when assembly elections are just a few months away.

Political scientist Suhas Palshikar has explained Dhairyasheel Mane’s statement saying, “The concept of accountability becomes quite flexible when coalition party comes to power. This (Mane’s statement) shows a competition between the two main parties, who blame and criticise each other. It is is a common phenomenon in the current coalition era, but has been happening a lot since the last four years in Maharashtra”.

Additionally, Santosh Agarwal, member of Indian Youth Congress who previously criticised CM Fadnavis’ government for their failure in handling the flood situation, has now said that Mane’s statement shows how Shivsena is subtly trying to exert its power by highlighting the current government’s negligence, just ahead of assembly elections.

When questioned about what does the government plan to do once the water level decreases, MP Mane said, “Rescuing people is the primary concern; how to manage the epidemics or relief grant or rebuilding of houses is a secondary concern. Water levels are constantly rising in Ichalkaranji and Shirol, people are locked in their houses waiting for the rescue team to arrive. There’s a shortage of food too. I cannot help them alone, we need thousands of helping hands and we need the government to make a serious decision”.

Mane has also expressed his dissent over Almatti dam not releasing the required amount of water, which has left several civilians stranded in a deathly situation amid the floods. “Maharashtra is expected to release 435 cusecs of water while Almatti is expected to release 460 cusecs of water. Our villages will drown amidst this difference of 25 cusecs. Both states should discuss this matter properly. If the psyche is that you’re going to drown our people, because your people might drown too, then the government will be responsible if people in my constituency turn to extremist movements like Naxalism!”