Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray in an interview in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “centralising all power” and endangering democracy. He also said China is attempting to foment instability in the country by suggesting in its state-run media that Hindu nationalists are provoking Muslims and egging the country towards war. “All I want to ask is whether we can call ourselves a genuine democracy if the country is run on the whims of a person who is the prime minister. Is there any respect left for the people’s opinion? We need to change for sure, but we also need to evaluate whether the changes are causing benefit or harm,” said Thackeray.
The interview is an annual tradition of the party initiated during the time of founder Bal Thackeray. Thackeray also alleged that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had created chaos in the country. “There is utter chaos after GST was implemented. A year ago, the Shiv Sena had spoken about the turmoil GST would create. Now, people must decide whether they want to remain a mute spectator. Traders in Gujarat have come out on the streets to protest and have been mercilessly assaulted by the local police for doing so,” he alleged.
Thackeray also praised former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for giving autonomy to local bodies and raising the importance of panchayats.
“There was only one reason to oppose GST. It was a fight about whether we want to decentralise or centralise power. When Rajiv Gandhi was in power, he promoted autonomy right up to the panchayat level. Today, Modi as Prime Minister is revoking decentralisation and taking power in the hands of the Centre,” Thackeray claimed.
The Sena chief also attacked the BJP government on the impact of the demonetisation move. “I just read today that in the last four months, 15 lakh jobs were lost. Nearly 60 lakh families got affected only because of demonetisation. Who will fend for these families?” he asked.
Thackeray also said China is attempting to foment instability in the country by suggesting in its state-run media that Hindu nationalists are provoking Muslims and egging the country towards war. “I have come across reports in the Chinese media that Hindu nationalism is egging the country towards war with China. They are suggesting that Muslims in India are being attacked and provoked, I believe that China is trying to inflame passions among Muslims. It wants Muslims who are peaceful today to get provoked. This will create a front at the border and instability inside the country as well,” said Thackeray.