Kolhapur/Ahmednagar/Pune: BJP president Amit Shah Thursday gave a clarion call to his partymen to "uproot the scam-ridden" Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra to ensure the state's return to pride and progress.
Launching the Bharatiya Janata Party's campaign for the Oct 15 assembly elections, Shah said the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party have "destroyed" the state in their past 15-year regime.
Targetting NCP president Sharad Pawar, the BJP chief said Pawar had commercialised politics like no other leader in the country.
"Pawar institutionalised corruption like nobody else in all these years. Ajit Pawar was involved in scams, there were scams after scams in the state worth Rs.11,88,000 crore," Shah alleged.
He said the amount of money lost in scams would have been enough to run the state for at least five years.
Shah alleged that after the scams were exposed, namesake inquiries were conducted.
"Ajit Pawar quit and came back within a couple of months after the 'probe'. If proper and genuine investigations are conducted into all these scams, no Congress-NCP leader would remain out of jail," he said.
The BJP chief lamented that in the past 15 years, the Congress-NCP emptied the state's coffers to such an extent that even if the BJP came to power, it would be very difficult for it to run the government.
Hitting out at Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Shah wondered why he felt so upset after being booed at during public functions attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently in Mumbai.
"He should know that the people of the state are tired of the Congress-NCP rule and they do not want him to speak. He should have kept quiet," Shah said.
Chavan was heckled at a function attended by Modi in Mumbai. He later boycotted a similar event in Nagpur.
Lauding Maharashtra for being India's "growth engine" without which development and progress of the country was not possible, Shah urged party workers to "strongly unite and throw away" the Congress-NCP government.
"Do you want this scam-ridden government to continue? Do you want Sharad Pawar's 'business-politics'? If you want a government of principles, cooperation, development, which can stop farmers' suicides or commercialisation of education, then it's imperative to remove this government. Without a change in Maharashtra, change in the country is difficult," Shah said.
He assured that the BJP would bring back "the pride of Maharashtra" and said the party's campaign for 'Congress-mukt (free)' India cannot be achieved without a 'Congress-free' Maharashtra.
He appealed to leaders of both the BJP and the Shiv Sena to resolve the issue of seat-sharing amicably, with dignity and respect for both sides.
The BJP chief called Kolhapur his "sasural" (in-laws' place) since his wife Sonal hails from this erstwhile bastion of the Maratha empire.
He started his campaign with prayers at the famous Mahalakshmi temple there.
Earlier Thursday evening in Ahmednagar, Shah took part in the conclusion of the state-wide 'Sangharsh Yatra' by late Gopinath Munde's daughter Pankaja Munde.
Addressing BJP workers, he said that during the entire yatra, there was a tremendous enthusiasm among party activists and people for bringing about change in Maharashtra in the next elections.
Speaking to party activists in Pune, Shah appealed to them not to bother about issues like seat-sharing or who will become the next chief minister.
"You must simply ensure that all our candidates win. Other issues shall be taken care of by the party," Shah said, referring to the string of names from the BJP and Shiv Sena vying for the state's top post.
The highlight of the Pune visit was the entry to the BJP of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena legislator Ram Kadam and two NCP leaders, Vijay Kamble and Vasant Wani.
Shah had reached Mumbai Wednesday on a two-day visit to the state.