THROWING HIS weight behind tribals opposed to giving up their land to make way big ticket infrastructure projects in Palghar, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to tap the ‘Mann ki Baat’ of the local residents.
Addressing an election rally at Palghar city ahead of the Lok Sabha bypoll on May 28, Thackeray opposed key projects pushed by the BJP-led government, questioning how they would benefit the tribal population.
Maintaining that he would stand with the tribals in their protest against giving land for the projects, Thackeray said: “For whom are you bringing Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train and Mumbai-Baroda Expressway projects? Petrol is cheaper in Gujarat while it is costlier in Maharashtra. The state government plans to go ahead with these projects by destroying tribals in this belt. But will the tribals be able use the bullet train and the expressway?”
“Like we opposed the Nanar refinery project in Ratnagiri, we will be with the tribals in opposing projects like the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train, Mumbai-Baroda Expressway and Vadhawan port in Dahanu. Why should the tribals give land for Modi’s pet projects? The people here want additional trains to go to Mumbai. This is their ‘mann ki baat’ and yours is ‘monkey ki baat’,” he added.
Attacking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Thackeray said: “If you are saying that this is not Balasaheb’s Sena, then is this Vajpayee’s BJP? Balasaheb tolerated BJP and its actions for Hindutva. I am not going to tolerate you and will give you fitting reply.”
On Wednesday, while campaigning for the bypoll, Adityanath had invoked Bal Thackeray (Uddhav’s father) in a bid to reach out to Hindutva hardliners. “Balasaheb Thackeray’s soul would be deeply pained and hurt today. He would never have indulged in such backstabbing,” he had said. He was referring to Sena’s move to field former BJP MP Chintaman Wanaga’s son, Shrinivas, for the bypoll.
Thackeray asked why the BJP is hell bent on defeating a tribal boy, Shrinivas. “One tribal boy has made Modi, who wears suit and boot and travels abroad, sweat it out in the Palghar bypoll. It is a big surprise.”
Meanwhile, Sena leaders alleged that they had caught BJP workers distributing money to voters in the constituency. “What action will the Election Commission take against the BJP? If an impartial bypoll take place, then BJP will lose its deposit,” said Thackeray while urging Shiv Sainiks to be alert and see if EVM machines are function properly on the day of voting.