Rumours of the estranged Thackeray cousins coming closer in the wake of BJP-Shiv Sena split were squelched yesterday, when Raj took potshots at Udhhav during a public address yesterday, claiming that the Sena chief did not understand politics. He also accused the Sena of having double standards.
Raj Thackeray at Thakur Village in Kandivli yesterday, where he also took on the BJP and the RPI’s Athawale. Pic/Abhishek Rane
“People from the Shiv Sena had been telling me since more than a month ago that they were aware that the BJP would dump the Shiv Sena and it would be wiser for the Sena to end the alliance before that happened. When even his party workers could gauge this, how was Uddhav not aware of this?
This is the difference between the Shiv Sena that Balasaheb used to look after and its current avatar,” Raj said. While Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had addressed a rally at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse ground on Saturday to kickstart his party’s election campaign, his MNS counterpart, Raj, chose Thakur village in Kandivli, which has a sizeable north Indian population, to do so yesterday.
Taking on both the BJP and the Sena, Raj said, “Even after all the drama that has happened, Shiv Sena MPs have yet not resigned from the ministerial posts that they hold at the Centre and the parties are still allies in the BMC. This shows the hypocrisy of the Sena. Had Balasaheb been there, he would have ended the alliance with the BJP a long time ago because he knew that self-respect is more important.”
Claiming that the BJP could not be trusted, the MNS chief added, “Hoping that they would do some good, I helped the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections, but I have realised that it cannot be trusted hereafter.” Raj also mocked RPI (A) leader, Ramdas Athawale. “Athawale is not capable of being the deputy CM, but still the Sena promised him the post.”
Bringing up the north Indian issue, he said people from some states were coming to Maharashtra to work as security guards and were getting rifles with them, but no one was bothering to check if they had licences for them.
He said if the MNS was voted to power, he would start a government security agency and give jobs to local youth. Raj reiterated his demand for autonomy for Maharashtra and promised affordable housing, good roads and an end to illegal slums near Sanjay Gandhi National Park if the MNS came to power.
Meanwhile, asked why she had left the Sena and joined the MNS to contest the assembly elections, former Mayor Shubha Raul said, “I left Sena because MNS is a party where women get more respect and I will be able to work properly here.”