Mumbai: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray on Wednesday launched a broadside against the Devendra Fadnavis government in the state and the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, alleging the latter was interfering in the state’s affairs. He held the Fadnavis government responsible for the ongoing agitation by milk producers led by Raju Shetti, chief of Swabhimani Shetakari Sanghatana (SSS) and Member of Parliament (MP). Addressing the media at Pune, Thackeray said the milk blockade was a result of the government’s covert attempts to establish brands from other states like Amul in Maharashtra.
“When the government was fully aware of the agitation, why did it not take the necessary steps to hold negotiations with agitators? Both milk farmers, who are compelled to agitate because of the state’s apathy towards their concerns, as well as ordinary citizens, are forced to suffer as a result,” Thackeray said. He further questioned the state government’s intentions in procuring milk from neighbouring Gujarat despite Maharashtra having excess milk. “Are the affairs of this state being dictated by the Centre?” questioned Thackeray, in a thinly-veiled criticism of PM Narendra Modi.
He protested the alleged police mistreatment of his party workers who were agitating against potholes. A group of MNS activists had tried to dig up sections of the road outside Mantralaya on Tuesday to protest government apathy on potholed roads. “People are dying due to poor civic infrastructure in Mumbai. When my party workers protested against this, a certain police officer subjected my activists to third degree for agitating about legitimate issues. If the BJP is in opposition tomorrow, I want to ask what if we treated you the same manner?” said the MNS chief.
He stated that instead of the state’s MPs and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) splitting hairs on the height of the proposed Shivaji Memorial, they ought to focus on pressing issues like jobs for Maharashtra’s sons and the plight of farmers. “If the government is so keen on preserving Chhatrapati Shivaji’s legacy, they ought to provide funds for the upkeep of Shivaji’s forts in the state.”