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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

PM Modi makes final poll pitch with ‘brother’ Uddhav Thackeray

PM Modi was addressing a joint rally of the BJP-Shiv Sena at Bandra Kurla Complex and referred to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray his “younger brother”.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 19, 2019 01:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
The BJP and Shiv Sena have a pre-poll alliance in the state elections slated for October 21.
The BJP and Shiv Sena have a pre-poll alliance in the state elections slated for October 21. (PTI Photo)
         

Addressing his last campaign rally for the Maharashtra assembly elections on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for a second term for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, highlighting that the state had witnessed no terrorist attack in the past five years and accusing the earlier Congress-led government for failing to act against terrorists.

Modi also assured businessmen that they would receive a red carpet treatment as they create jobs, and promised them that red-tape bureaucracy would be a thing of the past. Modi was addressing a joint rally of the BJP-Shiv Sena at Bandra Kurla Complex and referred to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray his “younger brother”.

The BJP and Shiv Sena have a pre-poll alliance in the state elections slated for October 21.

“There was a time when Mumbai used to face terrorist attacks frequently. But this is not the situation anymore. The reason is that these terrorist masterminds now know that any such misadventure will be punished firmly. Surgical strike and Balakot are not just words but a commitment of the BJP and allies towards the security of the nation,” said Modi, referring to the February Indian Air Force airstrike in Pakistan.

Ajmal Kasab, a gunman involved in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai was hanged to death in 2012.David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist involved in the attack is serving time in the US. “The previous governments did not give justice to the families of victims who died in 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai. They did not arrest the people who killed them. It is now coming out why they did so. It was because they were trading with Mirchi,” he said in an apparent reference to the Enforcement Directorate probe into a real estate transaction between Hajra Memon, wife of Iqbal ‘Mirchi’ Memon, an aide of 1993 bomb blast mastermind Dawood Ibrahim, and a company linked to senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel’s family. Patel, who was questioned by the ED on Friday, has denied any wrongdoing and said the property papers showed that everything was “clean and transparent”.

Describing Mumbai as “city of opportunities”, Modi said Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has provided a stable government. He said the Fadnavis government focused on the city’s growth unlike the previous “corrupt” Congress-NCP governments. He also sought to assuage the business community on the current economic slowdown. “We respect the role of the job creators and will accord them all respect. We will give them red carpet treatment unlike the previous Government which indulged in red tapism.” Modi said the BJP shared umbilical cord with Mumbai as the party was born here. Thackeray said this was a unique election where opponents were not to be seen.

Earlier in the day, the PM also addressed two rallies in Haryana where he targeted the Congress, saying: “...if by chance anyone says Balakot then the Congress starts jumping with pain. Pakistan uses them to strengthen their case globally. What sort of chemistry is this?”

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, speaking at a campaign rally in Beed, asked that if there was indeed no contest, then why has a phalanx of ministers including the prime minister, union home minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath, among others held rallies in the state. “The chief minister says their wrestler is in the poll battle but there is no wrestler from the opposition in sight. There is this organisation called Maharashtra State Wrestling Association, and its president’s name is Sharad Pawar.” We don’t fight with kids,” he said.