In his last public address before the February 21 civic polls, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, saying the government was behaving like in a state of emergency, and it has been steadily losing support. He, however, refrained from commenting on whether his party will continue to support the BJP-led government at the Centre and state. Although there were whispers in the run up to the BMC elections about Sena ministers planning to put in their papers to give a jolt to the BJP-led government in the state, the day of the two parties’ final rally before the polls passed without any drama.
Uddhav had gone on record to say that he needs a breathing period to assess the situation and take an informed decision of whether to continue his party’s support to the BJP in the state. Leaders, however, say the party’s course of action may depend on how it fares in the polls to ten municipal corporations, including Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nagpur and Nashik, on February 21.
In a retort to allegations of corruption against the Sena and the Thackeray family by BJP leaders, Thackeray questioned the status of the Ganga rejuvenation project, training his guns directly on PM Narendra Modi.
“You (the BJP-led government) poured thousands of crores of rupees in the ‘Namami Gange’ gimmick, but not even a drop of the water was purified. Where did this money go? If the money from Mumbai’s desilting scam went into my pockets, did the Ganga rejuvenation scam money go into Modi’s pockets? Inside the pockets of his coat worth Rs10 lakh?” Thackeray roared at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground.
He slammed the demand for a ban on Saamna, the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece , saying it is akin to behaviour in a state of emergency, adding the Sena should pose Lokmanya Tilak’s famous question to the government, “Sarkar cha dock thikanyavar ahe ka?” (Is the government thinking right?) Thackeray said Modi does not have any right to talk about erstwhile Congress PM Manmohan Singh wearing a raincoat when he himself wears a coat of Rs 10 lakh.
“Modi has already taken Mahatma Gandhi out of the charkha. He has created a image such that the world thinks there is only one person born in this country who was a Mahatma, the father of the nation, and the one who gave birth to our country, while the rest are ordinary. Modiji, you haven’t given birth to this country. It has a long and rich history, and whenever under siege, great people have been born in Maharashtra to protect it,” the Sena chief said at the rally, adding that nowhere in the world is there a PM who threatens his own residents and a government that brands people as traitors if they criticise.
Raj relies on Nashik model to woo voters
Even after being heavily criticised for lack of development in Nashik, Raj Thackerary tried to woo the voters in the Marathi heartland — Dadar — by talking about the work done by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in Nashik, where it’s the ruling party.
Thackeray also responded to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ mimicry jibe at Nashik.
“If a cartoon is in front of me, I will draw a sketch,” said Raj. On Saturday, Fadnavis had remarked that Raj can only do good mimicry.
Thackeray’s message to retain the Dadar-Mahim strong-hold was, “See me in every MNS candidate and vote for me so that I can work for you.” There has been no development of the city in the past 25 years as roads and health services have been in mess.
Thackeray also slammed the government’s move to construct a Metro car shed in Aarey colony.
He said that this move was to support the developers to usurp the land available with Mumbai Port Trust, which could have easily been used for constructing a car-shed without disturbing the environment.
Raj also said Uddhav has place to give to developers, but cannot grant space in the city for Bal Thackeray’s memorial. Further criticizing his cousin, Uddhav, Raj said, “Why did demonetisation hurt you so much......you should have resigned or should have jumped out of the boat when PM Modi did not even look at you during the Shivaji statue foundation event.”
Bigger homes under SRA: CM
Three days ahead of the Mumbai civic body elections, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday announced that the government run by the BJP will increase the size of the tenement to be given under the slum redevelopment scheme (SRA) from its current 269 square feet to 305 square feet. He said the decisions to facilitate the redevelopment of koliwadas (colonies of fishing community) will be taken and also those residing on forest lands will be rehabilitated at the same place.
Fadnavis was speaking at the last election rally of the party ahead of the polls, at Somaiya Ground in Sion.
“Its my promise that the government will withdraw SRA scheme from those who are fooling people since years and people will be given new homes. We will also increase size of the SRA tenement from 269 square feet to 305 square feet,” Fadnavis said.
He said that the government will facilitate the redevelopment of koliwadas by coming up with separate Development Control (DC) rules as they are the original inhabitants of Mumbai.
Raising the issue of those residing on forest lands, CM Fadnavis said there were mistakes in the survey of people residing on forest land.
“The state government will again go to the central government to rectify the mistake and regularise in-situ redevelopment of these people,” the chief minister announced. He said that the government will also facilitate in-situ redevelopment of slums being situated on land of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and 50,000 homes will be constructed.
Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a tiger, CM Fadnavis said those who roar inside their home cannot be called a tiger.
Fadnavis said in reality, Narendra Modi who conducted a surgical strike in Pakistan is a tiger. He further said all those who are residing in Mumbai since years are Mumbaiites. He said the BJP does not believe in regional and linguistic divide.