Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray tore into the party’s alliance partner in Maharashtra over the death of over 60 children in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, saying while the BJP had money to buy votes during elections, it didn’t have money to pay for oxygen.
He also said electronic voting machines (EVMs) were an insult to democracy and reiterated the demand for bringing back the ballot paper. “Despite the note ban, the BJP is distributing money to buy votes, to break a party and to form the government. It has money to buy votes but doesn’t have money to pay for oxygen. It doesn’t care if people die. It just thinks those alive will vote for it,” said Uddhav. He was addressing a public meeting in Bhaynder (East) in connection with the upcoming civic body polls in Mira Bhaynder.
Uddhav also questioned as to why no action had been taken so far in the Gorakhpur incident. “What action has been taken after the Gorakhpur tragedy. The BJP said strict action (would be taken) but there has been no action so far. It seems it will take action after the death of few more children,” he said.
Criticising BJP president Amit Shah’s statement that such incidents happened in a big country, he termed it cruelty. “There is a difference in the BJP’s stand while in opposition and in power. After the 26/11 terror attacks, the then home minister R R Patil had made a similar statement. It attracted a lot of criticism. Patil and then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh had to resign,” recalled Uddhav, adding that the Gorakhpur incident showed governance was in a mess.
Referring to the reported EVM malfunctioning in Buldhana district, he said, “The recent Buldhana incident showed that light was flashing before one symbol only. I have been deprived of my basic right of knowing to whom my vote goes. It is an insult of democracy. I reiterate that the previous ballot paper system should be brought back.” Uddhav said activists should keep an eye on EVMs on August 20, the voting day.
Attacking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on his silence on the Mumbai university final year results, he said, “Fadnavis distanced himself from the entire issue saying it is a university issue. Then why do you appoint an education minister for it? What are you doing as chief minister?” Uddhav also questioned the Union government’s move to make it mandatory to link PAN and Aadhaar details seeking to know why the government needed all this information.
During his 30-minute speech, he highlighted several works carried out by the BMC to address waterlogging and pothole issues, tablet distribution and virtual classrooms with others. He also promised a waiver of property tax up to 500 sq ft flats and implementation of the cluster development scheme in the twin towns to redevelop old and dilapidated buildings.