During a historic Gudhi Padwa rally at Mumbai’s traditional Marathi stronghold Shivaji Park, Raj Thackeray launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. A year after declaring himself to be a fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Raj said on Friday that the BJP government had shown unrealistic dreams to the people of the country. In a poor attempt to recreate the magic of his uncle Balasaheb Thackeray’s famed Dasara rally at Shivaji Park, Raj resorted to all techniques in his armament, from mimickry to threats to counting successes, to gain applause from the huge crowds. The response, though, was quite lukewarm on his “home pitch”.
“You had created these magical expectations that there will be ‘acche din’ in 100 days. And now, 300 days later, the jewellers openly say, ek hi bhool, kamal ka phool (the only mistake was to vote for BJP). You are behaving in the same way as Congress did. Yes, I had said that the country needs a PM like Modi. But what is he doing? Since he cannot show any results, he is trying to create unnecessary controversy through the RSS. You were to bring back black money and distribute it among the people. But Mallya has already taken it away You have no control over anything,” he roared.
To celebrate the Marathi New Year, Raj’s party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, had made elaborate arrangements at and around Shivaji Park where over 10,000 people had gathered. The party had hired over 1,000 buses for ferrying its workers. Many private vehicles were also used by the party cadre to reach the venue. The event was a test for the Mumbai Traffic Police, as scores of party workers walked to the venue amid thumping drumbeats. The local leadership jostled to make its presence felt by putting up hoardings and banners at arterial roads.
He refuted allegations that the MNS left protests mid-way, and did not take issues to their logical end. Targeting Shiv Sena, he said the party needs to answer about Ram Mandir and Jaitapur issues. “None of the issues we took up were left out in the middle. We took up the issue of Marathi boards on shops. The compliance was seen within a week. This was something other parties (referring to Shiv Sena) could not do for years. Even the mobile companies obliged. After our toll agitation, 65 official tolls closed down. We shut shutters of all illegal toll booths,” he said.
He also targeted the RSS and Owaisi brothers in his speech and claimed that the “needless” Kanhaiya controversy was created by the BJP government to divert people’s attention from the government’s lack of performance.