Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray is extending “unconditional” support to Narendra Modi as PM, even though he doesn’t trust the BJP. Thackeray spoke at length to HT at his Shivaji Park residence in central Mumbai. Excerpts:
Is your support to Modi out of compulsion or by choice?
Who can compel me to support him? It’s only today that people (Shiv Sena-BJP) have started chanting his name. Since 2011, when I visited Gujarat, I have been consistently saying Modi deserves to be the PM.
If the NDA doesn’t get majority and allies propose another name, will you still support them?
My support is only for Narendra Modi and not for the BJP or NDA.
You trust Modi… but do you trust the BJP as much?
In the present polls, even the BJP doesn’t trust itself. That’s why they’ve only been rallying around Modi.
In an interview, Gadkari said you had agreed for a tie-up with the BJP-Sena.
Gadkari and Munde met me and offered such a tie-up but none of them came up with a concrete proposal.
Were you open to such a tie-up?
Such a tie-up was never possible. They (BJP-Sena) just wanted to show that they were extending a hand, without actually doing so.
If your MPs do get elected, you will support Modi on which conditions?
Maharashtra contributes 40% of its income to the Centre’s coffers but gets nothing in return. When Modi becomes the PM, he needs to focus on UP, Bihar and Jharkhand, and our state’s burdens will be eased automatically.
Does the Sena-BJP make for a weak opposition in the state?
These parties are actually working in tandem with the Congress-NCP. For instance, my agitation forced the government to shut down 66 toll plazas, but the Sena and BJP are silent on the issue.
If their opposition is so weak, why hasn’t the MNS been able to occupy this space?
You have more expectations from an eight-year-old party than you have from parties 50 and 100 years old.
Your party continues to revolve around you.
Tell me five BJP leaders you know in Gujarat. You can’t. Even in the BJP today, there’s one man who is leading —Modi. Are there any seconds to Chandrababu or Jayalalithaa? Organisations and revolutions are led by a single person.