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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Will declare Aarey a forest when Sena returns to power: Aaditya Thackeray

During a rally in Worli, Shiv Sena leader says his priority will be to improve education, medical care

mumbai Updated: Oct 06, 2019 13:55 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray with his son Aaditya Thackeray
Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray with his son Aaditya Thackeray (PTI)
         

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday said the Sena will “most definitely” declare the Aarey Milk Colony a forest if it comes back to power in the Maharashtra Assembly elections to be held on October 21.

This has been a long-standing demand of activists opposing the cutting and transplanting of 2,646 trees in Aarey Milk Colony to construct a Metro-3 car shed.

“Once the government is formed, we will send all officers who are behind the cutting of these trees to Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Their high handedness is needed in PoK to deal with terrorist camps,” he said while talking to media persons during his first campaign rally in Worli Koliwada area on Saturday.

 Also Watch | Explained: Development vs Environment protection debate over Aarey

Aaditya, 29, will contest the upcoming polls from Worli and is pitted against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate and Dalit leader Suresh Mane, 59. A third-generation Thackeray in politics, he is the first in his family to contest an election.

Aaditya kicked off Saturday’s campaign by visiting the temples in the Worli Koliwada area of his constituency. Manoeuvring through choc-a-block traffic, he waved to supporters as he rode in the back of his car.

The Yuva Sena chief was accompanied by Arvind Sawant the Sena’s member of Parliament representing the area; Sunil Shinde, sitting member of Legislative Assembly from Worli; and Hemangi Worlikar, deputy mayor of Mumbai.

When quizzed about his party’s stand on Aarey, Aaditya said, “Whenever Sena has thought things have gone wrong in the government, be it demonetisation or the Nanar refinery project, we have spoken up. This is not a political issue. This is about preserving nature.”

Talking about his top priorities if elected, he said, “There is a lot of scope to revamp and upgrade our education system, so that is my first priority. The second is ensuring healthcare reaches the last man of the village.”

However, when asked about how Sena plans to create its identity in the government, considering BJP will get the chief minister’s post by virtue of having more seats in the coalition, Thackeray opted to side-step the issue. “Sena has its share and will maximise the resources,” he said.

“I am very excited and very happy that I got a chance to contest the elections. I will hopefully get a chance to become an elected public representative,” he said.

Earlier this month, members of the Koli community said they would oppose Sena in protest against the party-governed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) coastal road project. Aaditya believes that open dialogue would be able to solve the issue.

“Whenever we have an infrastructure project, we have a dialogue with the community it can affect. This has always been Sena’s way. Dialogue always solves issues,” he said.

When asked whether he would be an MLA or a minister if he wins, Thackeray said, “I will be someone who works very hard for the state and city. For me, more important than any post is the opportunity to work for Worli, Mumbai and the state.”