Raj Thackeray kicks off MNS poll campaign, attacks Shiv Sena-BJP

Raj Thackeray kicks off MNS poll campaign, attacks Shiv Sena-BJP
Raj Thackeray

Launching his party's civic poll campaign here on Tuesday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray held the Shiv Sena and the BJP equally responsible for the "corruption-ridden" administration of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

"The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is calling Shiv Sena corrupt. Yes, it is corrupt, but you were a partner with them for 25 years. You didn't get anything? And why did they keep quiet for so long and are talking about it only now," Thackeray said in a no-holds-barred attack on the warring allies.

Ridiculing the "transparency" claims of the Shiv Sena, he asked what transparency they are talking about. "That now instead of the potholed concrete roads, you can even see the stones underneath? Is that your level of transparency?"

He dismissed cousin Uddhav Thackeray's ongoing media diatribe against ally BJP as nothing but "a cock fight", and predicted that after elections they will be friends again.

Raising questions on the Shiv Sena publicity hoarding "We Did It", Thackeray wondered what exactly they have done and why it is not yet visible to the people of the city.

At the same time, referring to the BJP's slogan "We will do it", he asked as to what they were doing all these years in power in the civic body.

"The BMC has a budget of Rs 37,500 crore. Rs 22,000 crore goes in salaries, but what about the balance Rs 15,500 crore? Where is it, in whose homes, in whose pockets?

"In the past five years, where has Rs 77,000 crore disappeared? There's nobody to question them," Thackeray thundered.

Training guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Thackeray recalled how he had promised the people of the country that next year, demonetisation would usher in a "new India".

"We are already in 2017. Where is that promised 'new India'? Has anything changed? But hundreds of companies have shut down, thousands have lost jobs, the people are left standing in queues where 200 people died," Thackeray said.

He said in the ongoing elections in five Indian states, each candidate is allowed to make expenses of Rs 25 lakh, but nobody asks where that money has come from.

"How did these candidates get so much money when the RBI withdrawal limit is only Rs 24,000 per week? Over and above, some parties are giving Rs one crore to each candidate for poll expenses. Only cash deals are being made. Where is the promise of the 'cashless' economy?" he said.

Underlining the "massive development works carried out in Nashik" where the MNS has ruled for the past five years, he challenged all political parties to see and emulate the manner in which that city has been transformed.

"We got your support and delivered in Nashik. I appeal to you to give us one chance in BMC and see how we can change Mumbai," he urged the people.

On Tuesday, Thackeray launched the much-anticipated MNS campaign with two late-evening election rallies in Mumbai and is scheduled to address similar rallies in Thane, Pune, Nashik, Pimpri-Chinchwad and other places before the civic elections scheduled in these cities on February 21.

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