Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray is back to square one with his original agenda. This time, he has targetted the railways to get his party, which has the election symbol of a locomotive, back on track. Walking from Metro Cinema to the Western Railway Churchgate headquarters along with a sea of people with flags and banners yesterday, Thackeray, in a 7-minute meeting with railway managers, said he wanted hawkers and vendors from all railway premises cleared within 15 days, and pushed for more ladies special trains, and sought 120 additional services.
Raj Thackeray walked from Metro Cinema to the Western Railway headquarters at Churchgate where he met officials yesterday. Pics/Shadab Khan, Sneha Kharabe
Over other issues discussed regarding railway infrastructure, he warned railway general managers that he would meet them after three months to assess what action had been taken. The last time he took out such a rally was on August 12, 2012 when he protested against the Raza Academy for violence against police and the media.
"Those illegal should go, and those with licences should be checked to see if they are really necessary," he said about hawkers. The railways responded by saying that they will clear all hawkers from railway areas within 10 days and demarcate areas with signboards, so that responsibilities can be fixed.
"Basic amenities are not in place on bridges, and the railways should see that they are fixed in six months, including public toilets that are in bad shape. I have a report that about 120 services can be increased using the same number of rakes in peak hours. You should study this and implement it in three months' time. Mumbai railway gets you so much revenue. There should also be studies on increasing crowd patterns," Thackeray said.
Speaking to the crowd opposite the station after the meeting, he said that the MNS was the first to oppose the bullet train project, and he will not allow it, raising questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intention. "There are so many problems that people face and that the BJP had highlighted as opposition, but now when they are in power, they seem to be doing nothing. People trusted them with their votes and this government has breached the common man's trust," he said.
In 2006, immediately after the formation of his party, Thackeray had launched a tirade against North Indians, blaming them for the mess of Mumbai. Later his party even took digs at the mercantile community and traders (most of them Gujaratis) for not putting up Marathi signboards on their shops and establishments. Today, Thackeray reiterated his anger against both communities, but in a different style - politely and not in the usual Thackeray style. Late yesterday evening, the Mumbai police lodged a complaint against the MNS for holding a rally without seeking permission.
Number of services that Thackeray wants to be added
Watch video: Dahisar river touches the danger mark near National Park
Download the new mid-day android app to get updates on all the latest and trending stories on the go https://goo.gl/8Xlcvr