Will not allow bullet train, says MNS chief Raj Thackeray

Mr. Thackeray warned that “not a single brick will be allowed to be placed for the bullet train in Mumbai” until the infrastructure of local railways was made better.

September 30, 2017 01:28 pm | Updated 10:55 pm IST - Mumbai

 MNS Chiief Raj Thackeray.

MNS Chiief Raj Thackeray.

Ramping up his rhetoric against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has warned of consequences if the bullet train is allowed to roll into Mumbai.

A day after the Elphinstone Road suburban train station foot overbridge stampede on Friday, which claimed 23 lives, a belligerent Thackeray said, “Not even a foundation stone will be allowed for this project in Mumbai. If Modi wants, then he can run the train project in Gujarat. If the Centre tries and forces the project on us, a reaction of equal force will come,” said Thackeray on Saturday.

Ratcheting up anti-migrant sentiments, the MNC chief said it was the influx of people from other States that has led to a population explosion in Mumbai. This in turn is leading to immense pressure on the infrastructure of the financial capital and resulted in such disasters, he said in a reference to the recent incident. He then sounded a warning to hawkers to clear up stations and not conduct business around crowded terminals. “We are warning them in advance, and if they don’t listen, we are there to respond in our style,” he said.

The MNC chief also announced a march on October 5 to protest against the “creaking infrastructure and crumbling” rail facilities at the railway office in Churchgate. “Last time, when we brought out a morcha , the police commissioner was shunted. Let us see what happens this time. There are always reactions to such morchas,” he said.

The Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece, Saamna , also hit out hard at the bullet train project. The city should not even think of a bullet train until its existing infrastructure is upgraded, the party said in an editorial.

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