Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Monday took commuters at Dombivli station by surprise when he hopped on to a Dadar-bound local. But unlike others, Raj and his entourage travelled in the first-class compartment during non-peak hours.
“I am travelling in a train after 26 years,” the MNS chief told reporters.
Raj boarded the 2.40pm fast local from Dombivli. During his 35-minute journey, he spoke to the media personnel on a variety of topics ranging from Rahul Gandhi’s railway tour last year to migrants being responsible for the problems in the state.
Gandhi, during his trip to Mumbai last February, had sent the security personnel into a tizzy when he travelled in the general compartment of a western and then central line local.
Claiming that he was not imitating Gandhi, Raj said: “I am a staunch Mumbaikar and unlike Rahul Gandhi, this is not the first time I am travelling by train. I used to travel regularly when I was a student at the JJ School of Arts.”
Raj claimed that unlike Gandhi’s trip, his decision to travel by train was taken in the spur of the moment. “It takes more than one and half hour to commute by road while by rail one can easily reach within 40 minutes,” Raj told reporters. “Now even the trains are being stretched to the limit due to the influx of migrants. It would be impossible to travel if this is not stopped,” he warned.
However, the Congress labeled the whole episode as a publicity stunt. “If Raj wanted to understand the problems of the commuters, he should have traveled in the second-class compartment. It was more of a leisure trip,” said Congress legislator Rajhans Singh.
Raj was in Dombivli to check the performance of his party corporators who were elected to the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation.