Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray criticised his nephew and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray for the way he took up the cause of the Marathi people.
“What these people are doing cannot be compared to what I did for the Marathi people,” said the 83-year-old Sena chief, referring to the MNS in an interview released by the Sena on Tuesday evening.
“People are stealing my sentences and becoming leaders. It’s a hijack of sorts.” The interview was taken on August 30 by senior journalist Sudhir Gadgil.
The first part of the interview was telecast on television channels in August. Dressed in his trademark saffron kurta, Thackeray seemed to be in better shape than he was during his public appearance at the Sena’s traditional Dussehra rally last year.
“I went to jail for the sake of Marathi people but never asked for bail. People today say they are ready to go to jail any time and seek bail,” he said, indirectly referring to his nephew’s arrest and subsequent release on bail during MNS’ anti-north Indian agitation last year.
Thackeray also lauded the Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government’s achievements between 1995 and 1999. “We built 55 flyovers, the Mumbai-Pune expressway. I laid the foundation stone of the Bandra Worli sealink,” said Thackeray.
“People criticise us for proliferation of slums but you should understand that the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) does not have a dedicated police force and the state government never provided it.”
Thackeray also expressed satisfaction over the way his son and Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray was running the party. “Uddhav is studious. He reads a lot and tackles issues gracefully,” he said. “I am happy with his leadership and I am sure that the saffron flag will flutter over Mantralaya this time.”