Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray on Friday accused the BJP and the Sangh Parivar of using the ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ slogan debate to divide the country along communal lines.
“The desh bhakti debate is a conspiracy… If the BJP is really serious about chanting Bharat mata ki jai, then why is it sharing power with the PDP in J&K? The PDP has been stridently critical of the hanging of Afzal Guru…We don’t need certificates from the BJP on desh bhakti,” said Thackeray, in a blistering attack on the Narendra Modi government by insinuating that it was stirring up the ‘desh bhakti’ (patriotism) debate only to precipitate polarisation of votes.
Thackeray was addressing a well-attended jamboree on Shivaji Park on the occasion of Gudi Padwa that many had thought would be used as a platform to re-launch his MNS. But the party founder stuck to a line against Modi and the Sangh parivar, while going comparatively soft on the Shiv Sena.
He pulled up his cousin’s party for not giving up power in Maharashtra even after being humiliated by the BJP. “They (the Sena) want the best of two worlds,” Raj said. Mild criticism compared to the barbs he hurled at the Modi regime.
“If the BJP is flaunting its patriotic colours, why is the Centre not putting a stop to the Samjhauta Express? The PM took a halt at Lahore recently to extend birthday greetings to (Pakistan PM) Nawaz Sharif. And then the Pathankot incident happened. What kind of desh bhakti is this?” Thackeray asked. “People put their trust in Modi and the BJP. However, he is repeating the Congress Party’s mistakes…People have come to grief because of the Modi government.”
Thackeray struck a chord with his followers when he read out excerpts from the suicide note of Madhav Kadam Patil, the Marathwada farmer who consumed poison near Mantralaya last month and subsequently died. In his letter, the deceased farmer accused the Fadnavis regime of being deplorably indifferent to the plight of the debt-ridden farmers from Marathwada.
Harping on his pet Marathi manoos theme, Thackeray warned that the water crisis will deepen in Mumbai and Thane because of the unchecked influx of “outsiders”. “Those living in Mumbai will face water crisis. We, Marathi Mumbaikars, are asked to make sacrifices for ‘outsiders’. If the government doesn’t curb the inflow of migrants, soon there will be no water, no medical amenities and no good roads for all of us…However, neither the Congress nor the BJP have an iota of regard for Mumbai and Maharashtra,” said Thackeray.
In the same breath, Raj urged Mumbaikars to sink their community differences and work in close harmony to make Mumbai strong and prosperous.
Listing out the corrupt and the unjust, he said “the BJP has been doing nothing to bring them to book. The party keeps talking of patriotism only to divide the nation along communal lines… First improve Maharashtra, streamline the administration, crack the whip on corruption and then talk of Bharat mata ki jai”, he said.
Stating that the Sangh parivar had plans to carve out a separate Vidarbha state, Thackeray said the MNS will thwart the plan with all the might at its command. “Maharashtra is not a Happy Birthday cake to be sliced into pieces… If the Sangh parivar is keen on creating smaller states, let them split up their favourite Gujarat state,” he said.