Maha CM Uddhav Thackeray
Maha CM Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party for using Central investigating agencies like the CBI and ED against opponents, its move to politicise the Maratha and OBC quota issue and repeatedly questioning Shiv Sena’s ideology of Hindutva. He taunted that it was the desire of BJP leader and former minister Sudhir Mungantiwar that the former chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, move to Delhi.

In his reply to the debate on supplementary demands in the state assembly, Thackeray shot back at Fadnavis’s charge of 'undeclared Emergency' in the state as police were preventing Maratha activists from entering Mumbai. The CM referred to the ED’s action against Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik. "Asking the ED to go after those who bring breach of privilege notices against your favourite people is political perversity," he said.

Sarnaik had submitted breach-of-privilege notices against television journalist Arnab Goswami and actress Kangana Ranaut to the office of the state assembly speaker on September 7.

Thackeray alleged that the CBI and ED were being used as housemaids to settle political scores but reiterated that it would not be tolerated in the state.

The CM assured that the existing OBC quota would remain intact and without directly naming the BJP, said that attempts to create a social divide by speculating on the inclusion of Marathas in the OBC category wouldn't be tolerated. He accused the BJP of trying to create a perception that the OBC quota will be slashed to accommodate Marathas.

"The legal battle for (restoring) the Maratha quota is in the final stage. We have neither changed the legal team, nor our stand on Maratha quota. We will win the legal battle," he said.

The state government's revision plea seeking to vacate the interim stay on the implementation of the Maratha quota is pending before the Supreme Court.

Further, Thackeray said that the Shiv Sena had not given up Hindutva. He announced that the state government would take up the restoration and preservation of ancient temples, with an aim to "promote ancient culture and traditions".

The project would be undertaken in a phased manner, the CM said, seeking the cooperation of the Opposition in identifying the temples for preservation. This project, he said, was proof that "we (Shiv Sena) haven't given up Hindutva".

Criticising Fadnavis for calling the Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government a failure, Thackeray said, "Those who keep 'kundalis' (horoscopes) of political opponents with them are also reading out the booklet of our government's performance".

He cited the coronavirus threat to defend the two-day duration of the winter session of the state legislature. "Parliament session is not happening this time. The WHO, Washington Post have praised the Maharashtra government's work in containing the pandemic in Dharavi. It's sad that you (BJP) can't see this," the chief minister said.

Thackeray said uncertainty prevailed over the medication and vaccine for Covid-19.

"Even though the coronavirus curve is on the decline, we cannot take chances. The number of patients is growing in Western countries. We are taking care to avoid a second Covid-19 wave," he told the Lower House.

On the BJP’s criticism of his decision to shift the metro carshed project from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg and the legal battle between the state government and the Centre over ownership of the salt pan land, Thackeray reiterated that the land in Kanjur belongs to the state. "Politics shouldn't come in the way of the development of the city. More than ownership, what is important is how the project will benefit," he said.

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Free Press Journal