File Photo
File Photo

Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray claimed on Wednesday that the Centre splurged over Rs 4,000 crore only on advertisements of its schemes, and said the government does not have a right over taxpayers’ money. He also favoured simultaneous elections at the Centre and in states, but said “one should not think that the whole country will be fooled in one go.”  Unemployment would be a big issue in the upcoming elections in the country, the Sena chief said. He also apprehended that the BJP would again rake up the Ram temple issue before polls.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Thackeray said people were yet to receive Rs 15 lakh into their accounts, as promised by Modi during the 2014 poll campaign. During the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, Modi had said each Indian would get Rs 15 lakh when black money would be repatriated from abroad. “On the contrary, the government has spent over Rs 4,000 crore on its advertisements for various schemes. People did not get any money, but their hard-earned money is being spent on advertisements,” Thackeray claimed.

The government has no right over taxpayers’ money, which should have been used only for the welfare of people, he said in the third and last part of his interview to Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. Asked to comment on the country’s increasing growth rate, Thackeray sought to know why it did not lead to an increase in people’s income. “Why dairy farmers have to agitate to demand a hike in procurement prices and why cultivators in Gujarat have to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking permission to end their lives?” he asked. Responding to another query, Thackeray, whose party is an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra, said the Sena would go solo in all the forthcoming elections.

He also favoured simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. “The idea of simultaneous elections is good. However, people can be fooled only once. So, one should not think that by holding all elections simultaneously, the whole country will be fooled in one go,” the Sena president said. When the prime minister, chief ministers, and state ministers take oath, they are bound to work for people across the spectrum, he said, adding that in democracy, “campaigning for one’s own party is a crime”.

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