Raj slams BJP for highlighting J&K issue in campaigns

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray. (PTI Photo)

Criticising BJP leaders for highlighting abrogation of Article 370 during their campaigns for the upcoming Maharashtra polls, MNS chief Raj Thackeray has questioned the saffron party's silence on issues like farmer suicides and bad condition of roads in the state.

Addressing election rallies on Saturday night in Thane district's Bhiwandi and Kalyan towns for the MNS candidates, he said leaders of the ruling BJP have been raising issues that have no relevance to the state polls.

The BJP leaders, especially Union Home Minister Amit Shah, repeatedly highlighted the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, in their rallies in Maharashtra, he noted.

"When Maharashtra is facing problems like farmer suicides and bad condition of roads, they are highlighting issues that have no relevance to the state polls they conveniently divert the attention of people," Thackeray said.

He said this was the right time for voters to show such leaders their place and make non-performers sit at home.

Urging people to vote for a strong opposition, he said, "There is no strong opposition in the state to challenge the BJP-led government, hence the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is the right choice for it."

Further criticising the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government, he sought to know why the memorial of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, proposed at an island in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, was not built so far, even as the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country's first home minister, was installed in Gujarat.

Claiming that Patel's statue was "made in China," he said his party was urging people not to use Chinese goods.

The MNS chief said Mumbai and its neighbouring cities were facing pressure due to migration from other states.

"When I opposed those coming here from Bihar and UP, there was so much hue and cry, but when over 20,000 people from Bihar and UP were thrown out of Gujarat (last year), no one talked about it," he said.

He claimed MNS was the only party to have undertaken maximum agitations for the cause of the people.

In his speech, Thackeray listed the work done by his party leaders when they were earlier elected as MLAs, but rued that in 2014, voters did not prefer those who worked for them.

He said those facing corruption charges crossed over to the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena in the run up to the polls, and "such people get elected and are expected to sit on our head and serve us".

Afterthe rallies, Thackeray relished a meal of 'misal' (a spicy Maharashtrian dish) along with local MNS leaders at a popular food joint in the city.

Polling for all 288 Assembly seats in the state will be held on October 21 and counting of votes will take place on October 24. 

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