In an attempt make a political comeback, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, who is know for targeting north Indian migrants, has sparked a fresh controversy by reportedly instructing his partymen to burn new auto rickshaws if they belonged to non-Maharashtrians.
Reigniting the Marathi manoos issue, the MNS chief told his party's workers to burn autos running under the new permits in the state, but only after safely removing the passengers from them.
While talking to party workers at a function organised to celebrate MNS's 10th foundation day at the Shanmukhananda auditorium in Matunga, Thackeray warned against giving permits to people from outside the state.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray
Thackeray also targeted the BJP government and claimed there was corruption in distributing the permits.
“The government is going to issue 70,000 new rickshaw permits and all of them to outsiders. It should have been given to Marathi youths... But I tell you what to do. If you see new auto on the road, stop it, ask passenger to get down and burn it,” Thackeray said.
Bringing Shiv Sena into the matter, Raj lashed out at them for showing ‘false’ affection towards Marathi people.
It was Shiv Sena leader and Transport Minister Diwakar Raote who had initiated the permit process recently.
“Shiv Sena minister is heading the (transport) department. But we have real love for Marathi people, unlike you (Shiv Sena). If you really have some feelings towards Marathi people then the permits should have been given to them,” he said.
He also claimed that there's no difference between the BJP and Congress. "What is the difference between Congress and BJP government? Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will have to answer to me on this issue,” he said.
MNS chief even criticised a high court judge for his remarks in making Marathi compulsory for the auto permit holders. One of the judges from Nagpur division bench of Bombay High Court had recently questioned the rule of compulsory Marathi for auto drivers to seek the permit.
“You are judges and this is my request to you to keep your respect intact. Do not get influenced by news channels and newspapers,” he said.