If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had failed to convince former allies like West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, there was little chance of him swaying the people, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said in Mumbai on Monday.
In an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna, Thackeray said the Prime Minister's address to the nation, broadcast on September 21, was "most laughable" and quite unprecedented. He held that the move to bring in FDI in multi-brand retail had angered India's trading community.
Besides, the hike in diesel prices has also hit commoners hard. It will serve to snuff out hearth fires in poor households, the Shiv Sena chief said, mocking the prime minister for calling upon people to "strengthen his hands".
He ridiculed Manmohan Singh for reminding people that "money does not grow on trees".
The Shiv Sena chief argued that while the prime minister claims to be in dire financial straits, he also doles out largesse. He questioned concessions made to the Muslim minority, government spending on food security and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
"We cannot say if the prime minister's hands are strong. But the people of the country are strong, and will definitely drag the Congress out of power," Thackeray predicted.