Mumbai: A day after MNS chief Raj Thackeray demanded postponement of the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections in view of the flood situation in the state, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday wondered how could people think of polls at such a "critical" time.
Raj Thackeray on Saturday sought the Election Commission's intervention to postpone the state Assembly polls, due in September-October, saying it would take time to restore normalcy in the flood-hit districts. When asked about the MNS chief's comments, Uddhav Thackeray told reporters here, "I don't understand how can one think of elections in such a critical situation."
The Sena chief, while flagging-off his party's vehicles carrying relief material to some areas of western Maharashtra and Konkan region, said his focus was on providing all support to those affected by the rain fury, and refused to comment on any controversy over floods. Notably, state minister and senior BJP leader Girish Mahajan on Friday stoked a controversy after two selfie videos surfaced purportedly showing him smiling and waving hands cheerfully as he inspected parts of the flood-hit Kolhapur district.
On Saturday, the opposition Congress, NCP and MNS accused the BJP-led state government of "shamelessly advertising" itself, after it emerged that grain bags for flood victims in parts of Sangli district carried stickers with images of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and a BJP MLA. When asked to comment on these issues, Uddhav Thackeray said, "I am not going into any controversy right now as the focus is on providing support to the flood-hit people."
"I am not going into whatever has happened so far; I am focusing on arranging aid for the flood victims," added the Sena chief, whose party is an ally of the ruling BJP in the state and at the Centre. When Fadnavis was on Saturday asked about the flak faced by Mahajan, he said the minister managed to reach the remotest village, and while on the way back someone shot the video and pictures which were circulated as selfie. "Everybody should stick to a protocol," he added.
About criticism of stickers bearing pictures of him and a local BJP legislator on bags of rice and wheat meant for flood victims, Fadnavis said there was no need for pictures, only the Maharashtra government should have been mentioned. On Raj Thackeray's demand for postponement of the Assembly polls, the chief minister said the state government has no role in deciding this, and the Election Commission will take an appropriate decision after reviewing the situation.