NATIONAL

Raj sticks to his stand on migrants

Staff Reporter

Mumbai: Despite restraint orders, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray on Saturday defended his stand against migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

“For Maharashtra, I will go to jail any number of times. I will not turn back from the issue,” he said at a rally in Thane.

Gag order

Deriding the gag order against him and arrests last year, the MNS leader said he would not stop talking about the issues that plagued the State. “I have not formed the MNS to prey on anybody’s vote base, but to present the issues in Maharashtra.”

This was his first public meeting after a notice under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which prohibited him from making inflammatory speeches, was slapped on him. Once again, he did not spare migrants and read out a long list of crimes which, he said, could be traced to Uttar Pradesh.

As for the handling of language and cultural issues in the north and Maharashtra, Mr. Thackeray said Uttar Pradesh and Bihar leaders, keeping aside political differences, came together in a show of solidarity to speak for north Indians. But Maharashtra’s leaders were “spineless” and were interested only in appeasing the Delhi government.

Quotes Indira Gandhi

The MNS chief, assailing MPs from Maharashtra, charged that they never took up issues in the Lok Sabha.

He quoted a speech by Indira Gandhi in the Lok Sabha where she said locals must not be deprived of employment for the sake of migrants.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was paying more attention to cricket than agriculture, he said.

Mr. Thackeray also came down on the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance for not solving the border issue between Maharashtra and Karnataka when it was in power.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi was willing to take on the Centre for the cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka, he said.

Mr. Thackeray commended the southern and northern leaders for their dedication to their people and regretted that only leaders from Maharashtra did nothing.

The MNS leader refuted allegations that he was dividing society.

He read out the various caste-based election slogans of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, and accused them of dividing society on the lines of caste.

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