Raj Thackeray believes in: I am of Maharashtra, Maharashtra is mine! And he is ready to take on anyone who undermines his party mantra — even if it is the likes of superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj lashed out at Amitabh for his loyalty to Uttar Pradesh. Addressing a function at Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum, on Friday night, he said the actor took more interest in UP rather than Mumbai (Maharashtra) where he achieved superstardom.
“Bachchan likes UP most and that is why he is trying to be an ambassador of UP rather than Maharashtra. He even chose UP to contest elections…”
Although Raj adores Big B for his acting prowess and has been part of the long-standing family friendship between the Bachchans and the Thackerays, he cares less when it comes to politics.
According to the sources, he might have a second reason to do so. Amitabh has always been closer to Thackeray senior and had recently launched Uddhav’s son Aditya’s album, saying that it was a family function.
Raj has been, of late, trying to make it to the headlines with an issue or two to promote his two-year-old party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, an offshoot of the Shiv Sena.
While the Sena is looking for avenues to woo north Indians, who form a formidable vote bank in Mumbai, after condemning non-Maharashtrians for several years, Raj is clearly eyeing the Marathi voters.
Raj’s speech on Friday resembled one of those earlier Bal Thackeray thunders. He challenged the Samajwadi Party-led north Indians. “If Abu Azmi (Maharashtra chief of SP) threatens us with a lathi we must also keep our koyta (sickle) ready.”
Last fortnight, the MNS leader had also opposed the north Indians’ Chhath Puja and Uttarayan (north India day) celebrations attended by Uddhav.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, his followers tried to disrupt SP general secretary and Bachchan’s close friend Amar Singh’s press conference in Mumbai.
The SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is scheduled to address a rally in Mumbai on Sunday.
Amar Singh said the north Indians were an integral part of Mumbai and Maharashtra. Other political parties too reacted sharply to Raj’s statements.
While, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam dared Raj to stop the pooja, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan demanded his immediate arrest for causing divisions in the society. The local Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders chose not to comment.