Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday hailed his deputy Devendra Fadnavis as a "master blaster" who knows how to hit sixes and how to take a wicket, a day after Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray termed the senior BJP leader a "muster minister".
Speaking at a state government programme in Jejuri city, Shinde said one should think before calling Fadnavis a "muster minister".
"When he (Fadnavis) was the chief minister (2014-19), he didn't say no to any work. I am witness to this. He did every work. He is not a muster minister. He is a master blaster who knows how to hit sixes and fours and how to take a wicket," Shinde said while speaking at the 'Shasan Aaplya Dari (Government at Your Doorstep) programme.
While addressing a joint meeting of workers of Shiv Sena (UBT) and Sambhaji Brigade in Mumbai on Sunday, Thackeray said BJP has become a party of "aayarams" (turncoats).
"I pity cadres of BJP as they have to worship 'aayarams' in the party. Devendra Fadnavis has become a minister who is maintaining the muster record of the incoming people. How much burden will he take?" Thackeray had questioned.
Shinde hit back at the opposition for mocking him whenever he and senior leaders like Fadnavis visit Delhi.
"When we go to Delhi, (the opposition) mocks us. We go to Delhi in the interest of the state, to ensure better facilities for citizens, and to bring development. The Centre's support is important for (implementing) big-ticket projects. Nonetheless, we will keep going to Delhi for our people and will bring projects to Maharashtra," he said.
Deputy Chief Ministers Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar also attended the event.
Shinde said the Centre is always a "mai-baap sarkar" and the state government has to take follow-ups to bring schemes.
"We didn't go there to plead when a notice of an inquiry is received. We go to Delhi to ensure people of the state get justice," the chief minister added.
Shinde said a government should keep its ego aside and try to get maximum benefit from the Centre.
"When Maha Vikas Aghadi was in power, the then government didn't take a single penny from the Centre due to its ego," he alleged without taking the name of the then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Shinde said the Shiv Sena-BJP government has become a "triple engine" government after Ajit Pawar's induction as deputy CM along with 8 MLAs of NCP.
Speaking on the occasion, Fadnavis said big infrastructure work for roads, railways (metro), airport etc is going on in the Pune district.
Notably, the district is the home turf of NCP leader Ajit Pawar.
Fadnavis also said all types of permissions have been secured from the Centre for the Purandar airport project in Pune district.
"I am not going to contest the election from Pune district. I will continue to contest from Nagpur but I would like to tell you that without the airport, Pune district development can not be achieved.
"If this airport comes into reality, it will be beneficial for industry and agriculture. I would like to request with folded hands to keep the political differences aside and unite our efforts to give Pune a new airport by addressing the issues of people (whose land is being acquired for the airport project)," Fadnavis added.