Hostilities between the warring Thackeray cousins escalated on Wednesday, with Raj listing the things he had done for Uddhav to counter Uddhav’s charge that he was a betrayer who had stabbed the late Shiv Sena supremo, Bal Thackeray, in the back.
At an election rally at Dombivli, Raj said he would not have spoken of personal matters but Uddhav had provoked him. “Why would I sit through Uddhav’s procedure at Lilavati [where he underwent an angioplasty in 2012] or drive him home? Why did Balasaheb not call Narayan Rane, Chhagan Bhujbal or Ganesh Naik [who, too, had left the Shiv Sena].”
Raj recalled that his uncle, Bal Thackeray, had called him up when Uddhav was in hospital and asked if he would have done this if he saw his nephew as someone who had stabbed him in the back.
On Uddhav’s charge of betrayal for forming the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Raj said: “I formed the party when he [Bal Thackeray] was alive. If he did not feel I had betrayed him, then who is Uddhav to say so.”
Raj said he used to send chicken soup for Bal Thackeray every day, till he went into coma.
“Would he have had anything I gave him if I were a betrayer? And if Uddhav really wanted me to join hands with him, why did he not ask me when I was with him in the car,” Raj asked. “I got out of the Sena because of an incapable Uddhav,” he added.
He challenged Uddhav to answer him, and said he was ready for a slanging match right up to April 21, the last day of the campaign. Uddhav had on Tuesday said that he would not be talking on this issue any more.
On Wednesday, Raj also raked up the issue of ‘outsiders’ once again. He asked why none of the MPs had raised the issue of the growing influx of north Indians to the state. “There are 48 packed trains that come from there on a daily basis. No one goes the other way.”
On the issue of toll nakas, Raj said he would be reviving the issue after the code of conduct was over. “Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had promised to close down 22 tolls, but none of it has happened. Nothing happens by peaceful discussion. We will revive the toll agitation once the code of conduct is lifted,” he said.