Ahead of the Assembly polls, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday made a strong pitch for the Ram temple in Ayodhya and reiterated the demand for bringing a special law to build the temple in case the verdict goes against it.
Addressing party workers at the annual Sena Dussehra rally here, Uddhav announced that if voted to power, his party would provide “full meals” for Rs 10 and health check-up for Re 1.
“We will start providing full meals for Rs 10, health check-up for Re 1, free bus services for rural students and reduce electricity bills for all residential households for up to 300 units,” he said. He also promised to better alliance partner BJP’s outreach to farmers during 2014-19 with a “complete” farm loan waiver.
Uddhav said that Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s dream of removing Article 370 has been fulfilled. “We will also fulfil another of Balasaheb’s dreams, of construction of the Ram temple. Now, our demand is to remove illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and bring a common civil code in the country,” he said, reiterating the demand to bring a special law to build the Ram temple if the court judgment goes against it.
In his 35-minute speech, Uddhav did not mention the Aarey tree cutting issue. He justified his party’s alliance with the BJP, saying that there was no point in forging an alliance after the polls if there is a fractured mandate. “So, I thought it better to forge an alliance before the polls.”
Facing rebellion in many seats by rejected ticket aspirants who are contesting as independents, or party workers refusing to campaign for the BJP, the Sena leader asked everyone in the party to work for the alliance.
Uddhav also slammed the Congress and NCP over their poll promise of providing 80 per cent jobs to local youths. “They remembered it only after they became unemployed,” he said.
Taking a dig at Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde’s remarks on Congress-NCP merger, the Sena chief said, “First decide who will be your leader. Whether it will be Sharad Pawar or Sonia Gandhi, because of whom Pawar left the Congress. Otherwise it will lead to fighting again.”
Sena leader Subhash Desai and MP Sanjay Raut, who also spoke at the rally, said the party would win more than 100 seats in Assembly polls.