iconimg Friday, May 29, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 29, 2014
Lashing out at the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena(MNS) for its violent agitation on the issue of toll collection, the rival Shiv Sena on Wednesday called the agitation a gimmick. Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, without naming cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, said that some people had suddenly woken up to the issue of corruption in toll collection.

The Sena’s reaction appeared in an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on Wednesday, considered to be Uddhav’s views.

This is the first time that the Sena has reacted to the agitation ever since Raj declared that no MNS member should pay toll and instead thrash anyone who asks them to pay up on Sunday night. Following Raj’s statements, workers at many places across the State went on a rampage, smashing toll booths on Sunday as well as Monday.

Uddhav lampooned the MNS’ agitation calling it a ‘one-day drama’. “Where is the agitation now? Toll collection is still on throughout the state. So, what is the point of smashing some toll booths?” said the editorial.

Uddhav added, “Those who were sleeping for so long have suddenly woken up and have smashed toll booths in the darkness of the night. However, people have realized their farce.”                                                                                                        

In a strong attack on his cousin Raj, Uddhav said that the agitation showed that any tom, dick and harry is a part of politics today. “Hence, it’s best to ignore them,” he added.

Reiterating that the saffron alliance was opposed to toll collection even though their government had introduced the concept, Uddhav said that the alliance would scrap toll if voted to power. “People are ready to pay toll on roads which are maintained well. However, now, companies are bribing politicians and cornering toll collection contracts. The whole collection system has become corrupt now.”