Mumbai

Raj Thackeray launches attack on ruling parties, seeks change

MNS chief Raj Thackeray with Sandeep Deshpande (left), party’s candidate from Mahim, and Sandeep Kavde, MNS candidate from Dharavi, at a rally at Prabhadevi on Thursday.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray with Sandeep Deshpande (left), party’s candidate from Mahim, and Sandeep Kavde, MNS candidate from Dharavi, at a rally at Prabhadevi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

‘We are facing a recession and Maharashtra is the worst hit’

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray raised questions on the axing of trees at Aarey, rise in unemployment among Maharashtrians, increasing potholes in the city, deaths of depositors of Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank and farmer suicides, at a public rally of the party at Prabhadevi on Thursday.

Campaigning for party candidate Sandeep Deshpande, Mr. Thackeray began his speech by referring to the woman doctor and PMC Bank depositor who ended her life by consuming sleeping pills. Speaking in Marathi, he said, “At one end we have educated people committing suicide and on the other we have our farmers ending their life. In the last five years, over 14,000 farmers have killed themselves. I don’t know what will happen to our State in the coming five years.”

On Dr. Manmohan Singh’s visit to the city, he said, “Do not associate him with the Congress. Look at him as a renowned economist. He has been telling us that the country’s economy is in a bad state. We are facing a recession and Maharashtra is the worst hit.”

Mr. Thackeray said the Central government itself has claimed that five lakh businesses have shut down. He said many more cases like the PMC Bank fraud will come up. Mr. Thackeray said, “I hear that the RBI [Reserve Bank of India] has stopped printing ₹2,000 currency notes. We will suffer again. I don’t know what he [PM Narendra Modi] wants.”

Mr. Thackeray also highlighted the laying off of employees from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. “I don’t know where we are headed,” he said.

Addressing a large crowd comprising mostly of the youth, Mr. Thackeray said Maharashtra pays 33% of direct taxes and indirect taxes. He said the State also pays ₹4 more for petrol compared with Delhi. He said, “You are paying for petrol, roads, tolls but what are you getting? Year after year, the roads go bad and then get repaired, but the number of potholes only keep rising.”

Mr. Thackeray said he did not know where the ₹200-crore tenders that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation give to repair roads goes. He said, “Don’t you get angry when people die because of potholes. They keep taking your money but what do you get?”

Mr. Thackeray also spoke how 2,600 trees were cut at Aarey so swiftly at night and now only 1,400 remain. He said, “The Shiv Sena says that when it comes to power, they will declare Aarey as a forest. How will they declare it a forest when there won’t be any trees left?” He, however, quickly clarified, “I am not against development, but society will go nowhere if you don’t take care of trees.”

Mr. Thackeray also took a dig at the Sena. He said, “There are hoardings of the Sena that say ‘This is the time’. If this is the time, then what were you doing for the past five years?” The MNS chief concluded his speech by urging the Marathi manoos to vote for the party.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 9:31:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/raj-thackeray-launches-attack-on-ruling-parties-seeks-change/article29729453.ece

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