Lok Sabha elections 2019: ‘Need 56-inch chest, not 56 parties to rule India’, Shiv Sena-BJP taunt Oppn
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took on the Congress, and particularly Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and his party. Fadnavis came down heavily on the NCP and termed the party as a “corruption-management company”.Updated: Mar 25, 2019 11:55 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena, Republican Party of India (RPI-A), and other two smaller political outfits held their first joint rally ahead of next month’s Lok Sabha elections in Kolhapur on Sunday.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took on the Congress, and particularly Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and his party. Fadnavis came down heavily on the NCP and termed the party as a “corruption-management company”.
Fadnavis, in a veiled attack on Pawar, said that leaders from western Maharashtra did not develop the region, but only “filled their pockets”. Thackeray, during his address, cautioned voters before voting for NCP candidates and asked them to remember Ajit Pawar’s crass remark on the acute water scarcity in Maharashtra
Fadnavis said the BJP and Sena have come together for the “ideology of Hindutva and not for power”.
The chief minister said, “We can see that 56 [political] parties are coming together, but you do not need 56 parties, but a 56-inch chest to run the country.” In a sharp attack on the opposition, Fadnavis “challenged” the Congress-NCP to show what they did for western Maharashtra during their rule between 2004 and 2014 at the Centre and between 1999 and 2014 in Maharashtra.
During his speech, Fadnavis said when leaders from western Maharashtra got power, they did not take decisions to benefit the common man in the region. “We have spent more money on schemes and projects in western Maharashtra than they have spent in 15 years. We may not know much about sugarcane, we do not run the sugarcane factories. But the Narendra Modi government and Maharashtra government has taken more decisions for sugarcane cultivators and factory owners than the ‘wise king’. We did not want to help sugar barons, but sugarcane farmers,” Fadnavis said, adding that opposition parties are “corruption-stricken”.
Fadnavis and Thackeray said key opposition leaders, including Sharad Pawar, backing out of the Lok Sabha race is an indication of the impending massive victory of the saffron alliance. “When we were at loggerheads, they undertook a Sangharsh Yatra. After our alliance their tyre has been punctured,” Thackeray remarked. Taking a swipe at Pawar, Thackeray said, “In Pakistan, a cricketer has become PM and here someone has dreams to become the head of the cricket board.”
Referring to the recent influx of opposition party members into the BJP, Thackeray added, “I request the CM again, please do not take Pawar into your party. Such people have spent their entire life to destroy Maharashtra. Now when the country is progressing, we do not want such people at our doors. The people have shown them their place.”
The chief minister said the general elections are between two ideologies. “One is filled with love for the country and the other side is seeking proof from our jawans. Sam Pitroda, who is close to Rahul Gandhi, is asking what was the need for airstrikes in Pakistan. Look at their mentality. They have compassion for them. Not for our jawans,” he said.
Thackeray, meanwhile, added, “The opposition is demanding proof. Earlier, Pawar said he had suggested surgical strike. I want to tell Pawar saheb if surgical strikes were undertaken on your suggestion, why are you fighting. Like you have backed out of the election, your party should also back out of the elections and say that Modi is prime minister.” Thackeray added that he is “confident” that the Ram temple will be built after the elections.
RPI chief Ramdas Athawale, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha chief Mahadev Jankar and Sadabhau Khot were also present with Fadnavis and Thackeray along with other key leaders of both the parties.
Before the rally, all leaders visited the Mahalaxmi temple in the city and sought blessings.
First Published: Mar 25, 2019 02:06 IST