Mumbai: Daring the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to topple his government, Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray stressed that he was firmly in the saddle when it came to running the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. Stressing that lakhs of Ram bhakts would not be able to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram temple at Ayodhya scheduled in August, Uddhav suggested that the ceremony be conducted via video conferencing.
He also called for a bullet train route linking Mumbai to its second capital of Nagpur, instead of the proposed Mumbai- Ahmedabad route.
“Some people claim that the government will be toppled in August-September. I am asking them to destabilise it now instead of waiting,” dared Uddhav.
He was speaking to Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut in the second and concluding part of his interview in the party organ Saamna on Sunday. He added that rebel leaders used to induce horse trading never made it to the top post and were discarded later as part of “use and throw” politics.
Uddhav said that the state government was gradually finding its feet. “The steering is in my hands. Two others (Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party) are sitting on the rear seat. Let me make one thing clear... one-party rule is a distant dream,” Uddhav claimed, stating that he had accepted the position of the chief minister in a coalition of three different parties as it was inevitable.
Uddhav said the initial misgivings of the Congress about him favouring the NCP had been done away with.
“Our government is a three-party one. But tell me, how many parties comprise the Central government?” asked Uddhav, adding that if his government could be compared to a rickshaw with three wheels that was used by the poor, the Narendra Modi-led dispensation was a railway wagon.
Uddhav stressed that the Shiv Sena had played a major role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. “Entry into temples is banned because of the Corona pandemic. I will go to Ayodhya, but what about the lakhs of Ram bhakts who also want to attend? Will you stop them or allow them to attend? Will you allow them to spread Corona knowingly-unknowingly? This is a moment of happiness. Many will have the desire to go there. Otherwise, you may conduct an e-bhoomipoojan via video conferencing,” he added, pointing to how the construction of the temple was the culmination of the struggle.
“If a bullet train is necessary for the state, I would say give us a bullet train linking Mumbai-Nagpur,” said Uddhav, while adding that there was no need for the proposed Mumbai- Ahmedabad bullet train, which was being opposed by land owners.