Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray once again targeted north Indian community, blaming it for the State lagging behind in development.

At a public interview with journalist Girish Kuber, organised by the Akshar Manav Sanstha here, Mr. Thackeray said: “People say that Raj only speaks of ‘Marathi’ and ‘bhaiyyas’ and never of development issues. But the State’s development is held up because of these people [north Indians]. The money that we should be putting into development is going into their throats.”

Further, he said Maharashtra could progress even without north Indians. “They came to Maharashtra because of its development. It’s not as if the State developed because of them.” He said that the State had started falling behind Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh in recent times after the north Indian population rose here.

“The security agencies proliferating in the State employ north Indians. It is difficult for the local people to own guns, but weapons are easily available with watchmen employed by the security agencies. Where do they get the guns from? And why can’t they employ Marathi people?”

Responding to Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam’s suggestion that north Indians be put up from 35 Assembly constituencies in the coming elections, Mr. Thackeray said that Mr. Nirupam would do better if he went to Uttar Pradesh and made such suggestions.