Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday attacked ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying he had virtually lost faith in the BJP-led central and state government over several issues, including the GST and demonetisation, in the past three years. His strong BJP bashing came on the eve of his customary, annual birthday-eve interview series to the party’s publications, ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’, the first part of which was published on Sunday. Thackeray, who turns 57 on July 27, spoke on various issues with Saamana Executive Editor, Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP.
Q: You seem upset with the Goods & Services Tax implemented this month..?
Thackeray: “Upset? It’s a complete mess. We won’t keep quiet. We were the first to point out how GST will hit the people. Now, they must decide whether to bear it beat it. See, in Gujarat small traders took to the streets opposing GST and they were mercilessly beaten up. “We have opposed GST, since under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, everything is sought to be ‘centralised’. Is this a true democracy? Unlike the former Prime Minister, the late Rajiv Gandhi, who implemented Panchayati Raj right at the grassroots level,” Thackeray said in the first salvo against the government.
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Thackeray claimed that the Shiv Sena managed to ‘save’ Mumbai and 27 other municipal corporations in the state by getting reimbursement of the losses they suffered due to the closure of the Octroi checkposts from July 1 – when GST came into being. He urged the government to ascertain whether its policies are for the overall common good or not and cited the example of last year’s demonetization. “Just today, I read that 1.50 million people lost jobs directly due to demonetization, meaning six million (dependents) will suffer a hit.
Who will provide for these six million their daily ‘dal-roti’?” He pointed out how he was the first to speak out against demonetization as it created immense hardships for the masses, they stood months in queues, many died, but nobody bothered.
Q: “You speak the truth, but you will be treated as a ‘traitor’?”
Thackeray: “So what? Ask the people losing their jobs who is the real ‘traitor’. I am not talking about Modi, but the government machinery. Whenever SS speaks anything, it’s considered ‘anti-government’. But that is wrong, we are always with the people.”