Politics and opportunistic behaviour often go hand in hand in India and this has been proved time and again by many of our elected representatives. But if there is one neta who takes the cake, the plate and the trimmings, it must be Maharashtra Navn-irman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray. In fact, he could be considered a leader of the pack. On Monday, Mr Thackeray, who is evidently trying hard to keep his brand of politics relevant in a changing India, blamed "Bihari migrants" for the recent case of the gang rape of a girl on December 16 in New Delhi and related incidents occurring elsewhere in the country. While one is not surprised by his comment - targeting migrants is his favourite and we suspect only issue - what is appalling is the fact that the MNS leader thought it fit to exploit even this highly emotive and sensitive issue for petty political gains. Mr Thackeray should know that his comments against migrants from the northern part of the country have become so repetitive that they have even lost their shock value.
It also seems Mr Thackeray has a very bad memory, or is it a case of selective amnesia? How else could he forget the murders of Keenan Santos and his friend Reuben Fernandes on October 20, 2011, in Mumbai? The two young men were killed by local goons when the duo tried to stop them from teasing their female friends. How come Mr Thackeray never told us where those goons came from? Or did he conveniently 'forget' about this gruesome incident because the assailants were from Maharashtra? In fact, India doesn't even want to know their regional affiliations because at the end of the day, two young Indians lost their lives and it really doesn't matter where the thugs came from.
Instead of raking up issues of regionalism and migrants, Mr Thackeray should raise the real issues that need to be addressed: the failure of the police to do their duty and the fact that no one from the public, in both cases, came forward to help the victims when they lay injured on the road. But then these issues don't seem to interest the MNS leader at all. While he may be content to flog this dead horse of migrants being the root of all evil, the protests across the country after the Delhi rape show that the people have moved very far away from Mr Thackeray's brand of politics.