Flagging his sons-of-the-soil theory, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Wednesday asked when Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab could learn Marathi in a year, why not Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi?

“Why has Abu Azmi, who has been living in Mumbai for years and doing business, ignored the State language,” Mr. Thackeray asked at a rally at Dombivali in Thane district.

The MNS chief said Marathi should be used everywhere in Maharashtra, and everyone in politics irrespective of their affiliation should come together for the cause of the language.

He asked party members to celebrate Marathi Language Day on February 27 and Maharashtra Day on May 1 with zeal.

In a veiled attack on the Shiv Sena taking up the issue of Marathi and Marathi ‘manoos’, Mr. Thackeray said, “Leaders of other parties woke up very late. We have already taken up the issues.”

The MNS would never allow the separation of Mumbai from Maharashtra, he said.

Calling for filling railway vacancies, Mr. Thackeray said if sons of the soil were not given preference in recruitment, the MNS would launch an agitation in its style.