MUMBAI: Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ridiculed the state congress chief Nana Patole over his attempt to link the lumpy skin disease to the eight cheetahs brought from Namibia last month, saying the Congress leader was in the habit of giving statements to stay in the limelight. “Otherwise, he won’t be seen altogether,” Fadnavis said.
Patole, the four-term legislator from Bhandara district and former Lok Sabha MP, sought to pin the blame for the lumpy skin disease on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by PM Narendra Modi when he sought to link the disease to the cheetahs.
“This lumpy skin disease has been prevailing in Nigeria for a long time and the cheetahs have also been brought from there. The Centre has deliberately done this for the losses of farmers,” Patole told reporters at Maharashtra’s Bhandara district 900km from state capital Mumbai. The video clip of the minister’s bizarre statement went viral soon after.
Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia pointed out that the Congress leader had his facts wrong. “Cheetahs were brought to India from Namibia, and not Nigeria @NANA_PATOLE Ji,” Scindia said on Twitter.
Fadnavis made a similar point. “Nana Patole (Maharashtra Congress chief) does not even know where the Cheetahs were brought from. He has a hobby of talking without knowledge, as he knows that it will run in the media,” the Maharashtra BJP leader said.
The state BJP unit too was unsparing in his criticism. ”Patole is suffering from some disease. In the last few months the way he has been speaking, it appears that he is unwell and needs a good doctor. The baseless claims are being made to criticise the prime minister Narendra Modi and to please Rahul Gandhi so that he can save his position,” said Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Maharashtra BJP unit said.
Several Congress leaders declined to comment on Patole’s remarks. To be sure, this is not the first time that Patole’s claims have embarrassed party leaders. Last year, he claimed that he was under police surveillance when the Shiv Sena-led coalition was in power. In January this year, Patole told reporters in Bhandara that “I can beat Modi, I can abuse him” sparking a sharp reaction. Patole and the Congress later claimed that he was referring to a local goon and not the prime minister.“I am aware of the dignity of the post of the prime minister and I have not said anything against Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.