Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray Thursday took a dig at Narendra Modi for holding on to his chief minister’s chair even after being declared as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “I have great respect for the work that Narendra Modi has done in Gujarat but the day the BJP nominated him as its PM candidate, I think he should have stepped down as Gujarat CM,” Thackeray said in Nashik.
“An individual projected as the prime minister should treat all states as equal and not confine to Gujarat alone,” he said. “Modi has come to Maharashtra and spoken about the development of Gujarat and about the idol of Sardar Patel. It would be more appropriate if he had spoken about the idol of Shivaji Maharaj,” Thackeray said.
In a sarcastic comment on the massive crowd at Modi’s Mumbai rally held last month, Thackeray said, “If we are talking of crowds, even my rallies attract huge crowds.” He took serious objection to the comparison drawn between Maharashtra and Gujarat by Modi at the rally. Raj expressed his disappointment over Modi undermining Maharashtra. He said: “It is better if Modi stops making such comparisons. Maharashtra is still ahead of Gujarat, though there have been administrative failures in Maharashtra over the years.”
The BJP has meanwhile taken exception to Thackeray’s remarks and has claimed that he had in the past appreciated Modi’s work. “Raj himself had gone on a tour to Gujarat and had praised Modi for state’s development. We don’t know what has happened to him now to say what he did. Modi has effectively handled the responsibility of governing Gujarat and heading the party’s campaign. No one should tell him what he needs to do,” state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said.