No job security for youth under BJP-Sena government: MNS chief

MNS chief Raj Thackeray arrives at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur, for a campaign rally in Chandrapur district on Monday.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray arrives at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur, for a campaign rally in Chandrapur district on Monday.  

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Monday said the automobile sector would cut 10 lakh jobs in the near future, and that there was no job guarantee for the youth under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena government.

Addressing a rally at Kasba Peth in the heart of old Pune while campaigning for the MNS candidate, Ajay Shinde, Mr. Thackeray said his party had plunged into the poll arena as there was a need for a firm opposition in the State to make the BJP-Sena government accountable. “The State needs a strong opposition. Who will raise your grievances if everyone goes and sits in power?” he said, observing that the Modi government’s arbitrary demonetisation decision had affected crores of workers across the country.

“Social media is a stark indicator of the rage of the common people against the Modi government. How can [Finance Minister] Nirmala Sitharaman say the government has no relation with the banks that are going bust and merely put the blame on the Reserve Bank?” Mr. Thackeray said. He also asked why Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were not speaking on serious issues pertaining to Maharashtra, including the plight of farmers and the soaring unemployment.

“I am not so niggardly as not to appreciate the achievements of the Modi government like the abrogating of Article 370… But that achievement has nothing to do with the problems the common people of Maharashtra face,” Mr. Thackeray said.

Taking jibes at his cousin, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, the MNS chief said the BJP had not left a single seat for the Sena in Pune and Nashik. “The Sena is practically invisible in Pune… I fail to understand that despite the BJP demeaning them every day, they continue to stick with them,” he said.

If [Sena founder] Bal Thackeray were alive, he would never have allowed this [the BJP’s dominance over the Sena] to happen, Mr. Thackeray said.

He castigated the Modi government and the Devendra Fadnavis government in the State for their hollow claims. “At a time when our railways are not functioning to capacity, the PM thinks of starting a bullet train service. But no one can ask them anything as they have secured an absolute majority,” he said.

Ticking off the State BJP government and BJP-led Pune corporation, he said: “This government talks of Pune as a ‘smart city’. What kind of a city is this where more than 20 persons are killed and 8,000 vehicles are destroyed in a short spell of heavy showers?”

Stating that much destruction was visited upon Kolhapur and Sangli during the deluge, Mr. Thackeray took potshots at BJP State Chief Chandrakant Patil, who is contesting from the Kothrud Assembly segment instead of his home turf in Kolhapur.

“The deluge which hit Kolhapur carried with it one Minister [Mr. Patil] to Pune,” the MNS drily remarked, drawing cheers from the audience.

The MNS chief further said that if the State government really intended to honour the memory of Shivaji, then it ought preserve the warrior King’s forts and stop playing politics over statues. “Why can Gujarat have a massive memorial for Sardar Patel, but Maharashtra cannot have an enduring one for Shivaji?” he said.

In his address in Yavatmal district earlier on Monday, Mr. Thackeray had held the erstwhile Congress-Nationalist Congress Party regime responsible for letting slip administration and contributing to the ascendancy of the BJP. The Pune public address, which was scheduled to inaugurate the MNS’s poll campaign, had to be cancelled owing to heavy rain.

The MNS, once a potent force in Pune civic and State-level politics, has witnessed a sharp decline in its political fortunes.

The party had popped a surprise in the 2012 civic polls in Pune, emerging as the second-largest party garnering 29 seats, ahead of the Congress and the BJP. While the NCP emerged as the single-largest party, winning 51 seats, the Congress bagged 28, followed by the BJP with 26, and the Shiv Sena with 15 among the major parties.

Despite notching up impressive performances in the 2012 polls to the Pune and Nashik corporations, internal bickering and haphazard campaigning has caused the party to implode, with many among its top brass defecting to the ruling BJP or the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.

Currently, the party does not have a single MLA in the Maharashtra legislature while its showing in the 2017 civic polls was abysmal.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 9:03:16 AM |

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