Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that the prime minister remained in the country only during elections and leaves as soon as they get over.
“Our prime minister keeps travelling abroad and they (BJP) say the country is changing…He comes back only during election times. But once the polls are over, he is out again…,” Thackeray said, while addressing a rally at Vasai in support of his party’s candidate, Shrinivas Wanaga, for the 28 May Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll.
Taunting the BJP over its “Abki Baar Modi Sarkar” slogan in the 2014 general elections, he said, “Next time around, it will be ‘fuska bar’ (damp squib).”
Taking potshots at Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who addressed a poll rally at nearby Virar on Wednesday, the Sena chief said, “The UP chief minister could not retain his own Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat in the recent bypoll…He is here to give advice to his party workers on how to lose your seat.”
Thackeray refuted the allegation of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that the Sena had betrayed the BJP by fielding the son of late minister Chintaman Wanaga in the Palghar bypoll.
“The BJP dumped the Wanaga family after Chintaman Wanaga opposed the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project and the Wadhwan port project,” he claimed.
Fadnavis had recently said the BJP was planning to field someone from the Wanaga family in the by-election. Thackeray wanted to know that if the BJP was contemplating giving ticket to Shrinivas Wanaga, then why nobody from the party went to meet the family till the last date of filing of nominations.
Refuting Fadnavis’s allegation that he had betrayed the (Sena-BJP) friendship, he said, “Denying that you had ever promised to bring ‘acche din’ or deposit Rs 15 lakh in people’s bank accounts is a betrayal of the people.”
Targeting Rajendra Gavit, the BJP candidate in the Palghar bypoll, the Sena chief said that when Gavit was in the opposition, he had said he would rather let the bullet train pass over him than allowing the project go ahead.
“Instead of the bullet train, the government should improve the suburban train services between Virar and Churchgate,” he said.
Referring to allegations of horse-trading ahead of the Karnataka floor test last week, Thackeray sought to know why the BJP could not spare some money for the Wanaga family.
“The Wanaga family came to meet me with tears in their eyes and no one can buy tears,” he said and expressed confidence that Shrinivas Wanaga would win the bypoll.