Mumbai: Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday challenged Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to have a debate with him. He also targeted the Shinde government for expenses incurred on foreign trips, industry collapse and corruption during his interview at the India Today Conclave on Thursday.
Incidentally, CM Shinde, who was to be interviewed in the first session of the day, didn't turn up citing an urgent meeting at Delhi.
"All those 40 people who had run away did so out of fear. They ran away to hide something. Whoever was brave, honest, and genuine stayed with us, and stayed with the party and with Maharashtra. The rest went... The fact of the matter is that, even now, I am ready to wait till whatever time he [Eknath Shinde] comes here. You can moderate a session, and let's have a discussion on why he ran away—a face-to-face discussion, he can have his whole gang," Thackeray said while replying to queries on whether there is a chance for reconciliation between the two groups of the party.
Aaditya also claimed that Shinde had failed to show up at the Conclave as he had yet to wake up.
Party is strong in terms of principles: Aaditya
Thackeray also said that the party might be weaker in terms of numbers, but is very strong in terms of principles. He also blamed the BJP for the poor performance of the 'illegal' government under Eknath Shinde.
He also made it clear that the doors of the party are shut for all those who had left it, including Raj Thackeray.
"Today we have a Maharashtra where the agriculture sector has collapsed completely. We've had more than 1.23 lakh farmer suicides. If you take a survey today, the farmers would tell you that they have received money when Uddhav Thackeray was Chief Minister but haven't received anything now. The same is the case about industries. The Industry has started leaving Maharashtra. The decline is seen in terms of the service sector, in terms of women's safety. This is not because of one incompetent man but the whole government is incompetent and they are not interested in running the government. That is the problem," Thackeray said while launching a scathing attack on the Maha Yuti government in the state.
Aaditya on being called 'Penguin'
When asked what he feels about being called 'Penguin', Aaditya said that he is happy that the birds he had brought to the city zoo are earning Rs 50 lakh for the Municipal Corporation. He also raised questions about the Cheetahs being brought in by the central government.
"I don't walk like a Penguin, but a person in this government walks like a bird," Thackeray said without naming anyone in particular. "Those in the audience who laughed know who I am talking about," he added.