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Why can’t migrants learn Marathi when Kasab can,asks Thackeray

Attacking the Ashok Chavan-led Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra for its U-turn after making it mandatory for new taxi permit applicants to have knowledge of Marathi...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
January 23, 2010 1:45:05 am

Attacking the Ashok Chavan-led Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra for its U-turn after making it mandatory for new taxi permit applicants to have knowledge of Marathi,Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray warned of a public backlash if Marathi was not respected in Mumbai. He asked why migrants could not speak Marathi when Ajmal Kasab could do so.

In a signed open letter to Chavan published in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna on Friday,Thackeray attacked the Congress for rescinding the decision,and accused Chavan of going in for a turnaround akin to Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. He said Maharashtrians had expressed surprise about a Congress chief minister taking a pro-Maharashtrian stand and were hence “expecting the Michael Jackson style Moonwalk done by you within a few hours”. He also attacked the state government regarding the malls and towers coming up on land belonging to defunct textile mills,load shedding,inflation,water shortage,corruption and the decision to manufacture alcohol from grain.

“The language of Maharashtra is Marathi. We are not against any language. But bear in mind that Marathi will have to be respected in Maharashtra’s capital Mumbai. Or else do not forget that when public furore erupts against your government,your 150-year-old banyan tree will be burnt to ashes,” Thackeray warned the Congress.

Meanwhile,an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna also slammed Chavan and the state government and alleged that Chavan was an example of a “sycophant” Congress Chief Minister. “What child’s play is this? Wasn’t Wednesday’s decision taken by you in your cabinet meeting? Yesterday you spoke (about) Marathi and today you say that Hindi,Gujarati will also do! This is a game played with the sentiments of the Maharashtrians,” said the editorial. Questioning Chavan’s sudden U-turn,the editorial alleged that he had surrendered to criticism by Hindi news channels and pressure from the Congress high command.

“When Ajmal Kasab,who had come to Mumbai from Pakistan for the 26/11 attacks,can learn Marathi,(and) answer questions in court in Marathi,then why can’t migrant taxi drivers,(and) people like (Samajwadi Party MLA) Abu Azmi learn Marathi? …

It is the government’s duty to ensure that this ego is done away with. If Marathi is not to be insisted upon in Maharashtra then why were linguistic states formed?” questioned the editorial.

No strength to meet followers on birthday: sena chief
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has excused himself from meeting Shiv Sainiks and wellwishers on his 84th birthday on Saturday,saying he did not have the required strength any more.

However,they can meet Uddhav. They can also donate funds for the party. In a statement on Friday,Thackeray said,“Matoshree is the maternal home of Shiv Sainiks. There can’t be any restrictions on visiting it,but now I don’t have the strength to meet you¿do not get angry if I am not able to meet you. Uddhav will surely welcome you.”

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