All political parties should unite to make Modi-mukt Bharat a reality, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray on Sunday at a rally in Shivaji Park on occasion of Gudi Padwa, which is the new year of Maharashtrains. He also urged all political parties to set aside their differences to make anti-Modi a common cause for what he described as the larger welfare of people of Maharashtra and India. Thackeray’s address was a concerted attempt to revive the sagging organisation which faced a complete rout in 2014 elections. He pledged to hold this public rally annually.
“Today, we have to gear up for the third independence. All political parties should unite to make Modi-mukt Bharat a reality,” he said. He said the anger against the Modi government stemmed from his betrayal of people who had overwhelmingly reposed faith in his leadership in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He accused the current ruling BJP of plotting designs to trigger Hindu-versus-Muslim riots in the name of the Ram temple to consolidate political one-upmanship. “I suspect there is a larger design being worked to trigger Hindu and Muslim riots on the Ram temple agenda,” he said. They have started the process by bringing the temple agenda to the centre stage and in the Supreme Court, he said.
While extending MNS’s support for Ram temple, Thackeray said, “My objection is to their design and politics. Let them talk about the temple post-polls.” In a shift, Thackeray was silent about estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray and his political party, the Shiv Sena. He skipped their mention or politics. The Congress and the NCP did not find any critical mention.
Displaying a firm and resolute political agenda to join political forces determined to battle the Modi-led government and BJP president Amit Shah, Thackeray evoked an emotive plank to highlight the prejudice against Mumbai and Maharashtra in the current central regime. Thackeray, whose politics always veered around anti-migrants specially North Indians and is seen as pro-Marathi, warned of a conspiracy in the government to undermine the identity of Mumbai and Maharashtra. Be alert, was his caution to Mumbaikars.
“Why are all foreign presidents and Prime Ministers taken to Ahmedabad and Gujarat. Modi as the Prime Minister is only promoting his own state Gujarat. Why are the foreign heads and the projects not brought in Kolkata, Chennai or Mumbai?” he asked. Pointing out how the first International Financial Services Centre, which was planned in Mumbai also got a secondary treatment in BJP regime, he said the Prime Minister was more concerned about Gujarat. Playing on the past Gujarat-versus-Maharashtra divide, he said, “During the creation of Maharashtra in 1960, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was under tremendous pressure from then Home Minister Vallabhbai Patel to hand over Mumbai to the state of Gujarat. But Mumbai remained with Maharashtra. This is a wound which they still harbour. While elaborating the anti Mumbai agenda of Modi government ,” Thackeray said. “They are out to finish Mumbai’s identity.”
The MNS leader noted that the Modi government was a failure on all fronts, from development to corruption. How can Nirav Modi, who committed fraud of Rs 11000 crore, escape India. Who facilitated his passport and which airport to make his smooth escape, he asked.
While referring to the alleged corruption in Rafale deal, he said there is huge commission of almost Rs 600 to 700 crore on each airplane. “The defence minister Nirmala Seetharam expressed ignorance about domestic partner of French company. Whereas it was a fact when the agreement was signed with India and French, Anil Ambani was present.”
While likening the current situation to Emergency, Thackeray said: “There is attempt to silence the voice of media, judiciary which is detrimental for democracy.” Taking a dig at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis featuring in the River Anthem campaign against pollution, he said, “The government makes slogans which remain untranslated in reality.” He also accused the state government for failing to tackle farmers and youths problems.