Taking potshots at the Congress, Thackeray asked people why they vote for leaders who think of them as beggars, referring to Rahul Gandhi’s campaign speech in Uttar Pradesh in which he said that people of UP were being forced to migrate as schemes for them were not duly implemented there.
In an interview to Newsline on Sunday, Thackeray — whose party has been campaigning against migrants from UP and Bihar in Mumbai — said: “I have never called anyone a beggar. The issue of illegal migrants has to be decided by the government and Parliament. BMC has no role in it.” The BJP-Sena combine has been ruling the BMC for around 15 years.
Thackeray asked why do people vote for the Congress when there is inflation, corruption and in-fighting within the alliance.
He said people should protest against Congress-NCP by refusing their government instead of slapping leaders or throwing shoes at them, apparently referring to a youth slapping NCP chief Sharad Pawar at a meeting and a man hurling a shoe at Rahul during a recent poll rally.
Asked about Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s promise of making Mumbai a global city, Thackeray said they had made Mumbai a global city in corruption. “We don’t even know how long this CM will last,” he said.
Thackeray also spoke about the Sena’s ‘we did it’ campaign aimed at showcasing the party’s achievements. He said no party had said they were false claims. “Is there any other party that can say it has done this? Why are we not going on positive lines?”
With Sena rebels like Raja Chougule and Arjun Naik refusing to withdraw nominations against the official candidates, Thackeray said since they had gone “beyond the limit”, they would have to sever ties with the party.
Standing by his candidate selection, he said: “I am responsible for candidates we fielded. I will ensure they work. We had multiple aspirants in each ward; it is good people have aspirations, but there is a limit... unfortunately, those beyond listening will have to break away from the party.”
“There is a party discipline or else people will rebel everywhere.” Talking about the reaction of rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to the refusal of permission from the HC for a rally in Shivaji Park, Thackeray said he would talk about it after the elections.
He said, “Places where we don’t get grounds, we hold rallies on roads. My recent rally in Vikhroli was on the road. What is the big deal?” Thackeray said there was a challenge from the MNS in the BMC polls.
Admitting that RPI(A) had been given a raw deal in Sena-BJP-RPI seat-sharing, Thackeray, however, said other RPI factions had got much less from the Congress. He said, “We have given 29 seats. What have those RPI leaders got from the Congress?”
This is one group that has been cheated by the Congress. To give them justice, it is also our responsibility to ensure that seats given to them are won, he said, adding that people have been putting their faith in the Sena-BJP for the past 15-20 years.
Asked about Sena MP Anand Paranjpe being seen at NCP rallies and its likely effect on the Thane polls, Thackeray brushed the matter aside and counter-questioned as to why Paranjpe had not quit the party or his MP seat. “It will not affect us. It has enthused our workers to ensure their defeat,” he said.