Raj 'flips' in speech at MNS rally, sparks political ire
An apparently weary Raj urged the gathering of ‘Hindus’ “not to forget” his sermons, give an opportunity to the MNS to rule the State in 2024 and help take it towards progress
Mumbai: A huge political row was ignited in the State on Sunday after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray's stinging direct attack on his estranged cousin and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and attempt to stake a claim on Hindutva, at his large Gudi Padwa day rally, here recently.
In a Macaque-shaming somersault, Raj slammed Uddhav for not respecting the peoples' mandate in favour of Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 Assembly elections and choosing to ally with Nationalist Congress Party-Congress to head the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
"He has betrayed the peoples' verdict. He claims there was a closed-door understanding with Amit Shah to share the post of CM. Why he remembered it only after the elections," boomed Raj.
He also targeted Congress and NCP Presidents on various counts, blaming the latter for introducing divisive politics in the state after launching the NCP.
A strong critic of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Raj's 2019 election meetings were an audio-visual treat as he barked 'Laav re te video' (Play that Video) and carried out a serial expose on the saffron party amidst thunderous applause, but managed to get only one MLA elected.
An apparently weary Raj urged the gathering of 'Hindus' "not to forget" his sermons, give an opportunity to the MNS to rule the State in 2024 and help take it towards progress.
He also demanded that the MVA government should immediately ban loudspeakers at mosques or he would counter them by playing Hanuman Chalisa at double volume near the mosques. As expected, top MVA leaders starting with Sena MP Sanjay Raut, NCP chief Pawar, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, Congress' Nana Patole, Ashok Chavan, Atul Londhe, ex-Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar and others clobbered Raj Thackeray for his unbridled remarks.
Surprisingly, Asaduddin Owaisi, President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) - which recently sought an alliance with the MVA but was spurned - issued a gag order on his party from reacting to the MNS chief's comments. Referring to the MNS head's flip-flops vis-a-vis the BJP in the past, Pawar Sr knowingly said in Solapur that Raj is 'inconsistent', who says things and scoots for 3-4 months after that.
Raut charged Raj with being a 'megaphone' of the BJP who has cut his wisdom-teeth belatedly and wondered why he chose to raise the MVA government formation after two-and-half years.
Taking a swipe at Raj's infamous ED notice in August 2019 and his succulent grilling for over 9 hours by the agency sleuths, an amused Sule asked whether he got 'scared' of just one ED notice.
In a pointed comment, Congress' chief spokesperson Atul Londhe said Raj's politics started with a 'development agenda' and had now come full circle with Hindutva and communalism.
"This shows his frustration at not being able to make a mark in politics for so long. He has to abuse other parties to show his own relevance," Londhe said.
Raut said if Raj feels Pawar was playing communal politics, then why did he keep going and falling at his feet in the past, and said instead of speaking about the good works done by the MVA, he had resorted to needless attacks. NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase took a jibe pointing out how Raj's speeches have entertainment value, but are 'directionless', obstructing his supporters from creating a 'political space' for themselves, and others termed Raj as BJP's 'C Team'.