Uddhav does not have a firm stand... I have no faith in alliances: Raj Thackeray

Written by Girish Kuber | Updated: Oct 12 2014, 16:10pm hrs
In this Idea Exchange moderated by Loksatta editor Girish Kuber, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray talks about Modis ploy to divide Maharashtra and the lack of efficient leaders in the BJP

MNS will come to power on its own'

National parties should shoulder the responsibility of the country and regional parties of the state. There are no benefits of alliances. Both the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance and the Congress-NCP coalition broke up just before the Assembly election. The accusations and counter-accusations show that the state needs a single-party government. The MNS has always aimed to fight on the basis of its own strength. We will come to power in Maharashtra on our own. No one can say how long this will take. The people placed their trust in these four parties, and yet, the state did not gain much. After 15 years of the Congress-NCP tie-up, leaders of both parties are now only flinging mud at each other.

In my first public meeting after establishing the MNS, I had presented a picture of the development that Maharashtra needs. After discussions with experts, I now stand in the arena of elections with the blueprint of Maharashtras progress in my hands. It is my firm stand that the people of Maharashtra, the bhoomiputras, should benefit from this progress.

Yashwantrao Chavan, Vasantdada Patil and, to some extent, Sharad Pawar made some honest efforts in the beginning to bring industries to Maharashtra. As Marathi people created a good environment, the Tata-Birlas preferred to set up industries in Maharashtra. But things started changing in the last 15 years. Several industries started going to other states. On one hand, concessions are granted so that industries can go to other states and at the same time, industrialists who seek to come to our state are subjected to exploitation. As politicians encourage such plunder, government servants from other states working here put the interests of their own states ahead of those of Maharashtra. Hence, it is necessary that there be a government of a single party, and that too of a regional party in the state. It is not as if people do not have any trust in regional parties. The Shiv Sena, in the beginning, came up as a regional party, but it tied up with the BJP and people did not get an independent regional party. The MNS is the only truly regional party, and after its establishment, we were victorious in 13 seats in the 2009 Assembly elections.

If the people give me the reins, I will change the face of Maharashtra. Marathi youth will get employment in the industries in Maharashtra. There can be all round development in the state.

Expectations I had from Modi have not been fulfilled

At the time of the Lok Sabha elections, I was the one who had backed Modi for the Prime Ministers post. My backing was for Modi, not the BJP. I was looking at the progress he had brought about as Gujarat CM. Now, after becoming PM, he should change his stand. He is the PM of the country, and is expected to behave accordingly. Unfortunately, even today he is seen thinking only about Gujarat.

His statement that he will take Maharashtra further than Gujarat does not go down well. His policy should be to bring about the progress of all states. All states in the country should be like his children to him. He did nothing wrong by thinking about Gujarat when he was CM. But even after becoming PM, his stand has not changed, and this is why I criticised him during my campaigning. It pains me that the expectations that I had from him have not been fulfilled. Why announce a Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train after returning from Japan Why not Mumbai-Delhi or Mumbai-Kolkata How does an Anandiben Patel, who he has made CM, come to Mumbai and insist on taking businessmen from here to Gujarat Why does Modi take the headquarters of the National Institute of Coastal Policing from Mumbai to Gujarat

There is a ploy to divide Mumbai

Modi, on one hand, says he will not let Maharashtra be broken into pieces, and on the other hand, leaders from his own party take a stand that they will make Vidarbha independent. How can the RSS and (BJP Maharashtra president) Devendra Fadnavis take a stand against Modi There is a hidden agenda here. If Modi, on the eve of the elections, is saying that he will not let Maharashtra be divided just for the sake of it, it is wrong.

The Gujarat CM invites Gujarati businessmen to Gujarat, while Modi announces a bullet train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. This is a ploy to divide Mumbai. What is wrong in suspecting that circumstances similar to those at the time of Samyukta Maharashtra are forming In the Ghatkopar constituency, BJP MLA Prakash Mehta only talks about Gujarati literature in his campaigning. Why the change now Would they have had the same courage in other states Who is responsible if the Marathi manoos gets furious due to all this tomorrow Several generations of people from various states, including Gujaratis and North Indians, stay in Mumbai. They consider Mumbai their own. There is no question about them. But the huge exodus has given rise to several problems. Entire constituencies of outsiders are forming. Someone like Abu Azmi can win from two constituencies at the same time. So if I am thinking about Maharashtra and the Marathi manoos, what is so wrong in that It is my firm opinion that the Marathi youth should get employment in Maharashtra before anyone else. I am no saint. Marathis are feeling the heat due to waves of migrants coming here. There was a time when vehicles would stop at the sight of a red traffic light even in the night. Today, traffic rules are broken in broad daylight. This culture is not from here.

PMs are for countries, not states

American leaders are clever and know how to please whom. Which is why US President Barack Obama welcomed Modi with a kem chho, and a garba was performed at the White House. Were Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh welcomed in Hindi or Punjabi Prime Ministers are for countries, not states. What kind of image is seen of Modi

Is the PM not bound by code of conduct

All parties are bound by the model code of conduct for Assembly elections. Expenses have to be accounted for. It makes no difference to me that Modi is taking rallies and public meetings all over the state. But he is using government infrastructure for his campaigning while the code of conduct is in force. Who will account for the expense We are bound by the code of conduct, but the PM is not

What achche din

There is continuous firing at the border by Pakistan. Our soldiers are being martyred and the PM is holding five rallies a day in Maharashtra and Haryana. Soldiers were being martyred even during Congresss time. Their bodies were being brought in coffins. Nothing has changed after Modi became PM. Our soldiers are still coming home in coffins. What achche din are these During Vajpayees regime, trains and buses were started between India and Pakistan. Then the Kargil war occurred. It is clear that Pakistan will not change under any circumstances. Even today, firing is going on. But Modi does not realise the seriousness of this.

BJP has no efficient leaders

By saying that he would not have had to come to Maharashtra for campaigning if Gopinath Munde were alive, Modi has shown that the BJP has no efficient leaders. Posters and hoardings only have Modis picture. The BJP, which talks about winning on its own strength, had to import candidates from Congress-NCP.

My enemy Cong-NCP, not BJP

The prime enemy of the MNS is the Congress-NCP, not the BJP. No other party has spoken so strongly about Deputy CM Ajit Pawar as much as I have. The coalition government has drowned the state in the last 15 years, and hence it is now time to finish them.

MNS government is my objective

After the Sena joined hands with the BJP, no regional party in the true sense of the word remained in Maharashtra. The MNS has done the job of filling the empty slot of a regional party in the state. Most states in the country have a single party government and it is my attempt that there be an MNS government in the state. I have entered this election in full force and we are contesting for 231 seats. I have no faith in alliances or coalitions.

We wont let the state break

I have made several tours of Vidarbha. The people there have no wish to separate from Maharashtra. But some politicians have, for their selfish interests, stuck to this demand. The leaders of Vidarbha did nothing for its progress. Why should Maharashtra pay the price for their selfishness The MNS will not let Maharashtra break at any cost.

Uddhav does not have a firm stand

Ever since the Sena-BJP alliance broke, I have been asked whether Sena and MNS will come together. Recently, when I was not well, Uddhav called me at my residence. I didnt even have the strength to speak at the time. I was coughing. He just inquired about my health in short.

Even after that, when discussions about a Sena-MNS alliance started, I only listened. I knew what was going to happen. If I hadnt even listened, I would have been blamed for being adamant. So I just understood what exactly was being meant by striking an alliance.

When the Sena-BJP alliance broke, a senior Sena MLA visited me at my residence. We are family friends. He said that we (Sena and MNS) should come together, and added that he was trying for this to happen. He said he would call Matoshree and facilitate a conversation between Uddhav and me. Bear in mind that the alliance broke on September 25 and the deadline for filing nominations was September 27. Only two days were remaining. He made the call. Uddhav came on the line. I said, tell me what is to be done. He said, let us discuss, let us not criticise each other and let us see what to do after the elections. I asked him who would be having the discussions, and it was decided that two people from each party would come together to discuss: Bala Nandgaonkar and Nitin Sardesai from MNS and Anil Desai and Subhash Desai from the Sena.

Without getting into who should call first, I told Bala to call Anil Desai. Bala called him at 7.15 am, but his phone was off. He called again at 9 am, and Desai said that he would speak in the afternoon as he was going to file nominations at the time. The filing of forms was put off for all MNS candidates because discussions were to happen. Our candidates were getting restless and didnt even know the reason.

Till 5 pm, there was no phone call from Anil Desai or anyone else in the Sena. After that, I told my candidates to file their nominations. Uddhav does not have a firm stand. All that was done to make us run around. For example, after the alliance was broken, it was said that Union minister Anant Geete would resign. Then it was told that the decision regarding resignation would be taken after Narendra Modi returned from his US trip. Then, when Modi came for campaigning, he was declared as Afzal Khans army. Now which army does Geete belong to The Shiv Sena of today does not have a stand. They only wanted to show that I am not ready to come together, that I am refusing to budge. And I only want to show that I am not adamant. That is the reason why I displayed willingness for discussions, so that I could understand what their stand really was. That the MNS will only fight on its own is my firm stand. I only went through this whole process of discussion so that their true nature be revealed.

Will be CM myself if in power

If the MNS comes to power in the state, I will myself take responsibility of the chief ministerial post. After the Lok Sabha elections, I had, in a fit of emotion, made the declaration of contesting the Assembly elections. But I thought about it later. I have to campaign all over Maharashtra. Instead of thinking about a single constituency, I have decided to regard the whole of Maharashtra as my constituency and campaign accordingly. If the MNS comes into power, I will definitely contest the elections. Earlier, Narendra Modi first became Gujarat CM and then contested elections. A party like BJP was behind him. Chadrababu had the goodwill of the NTR backing him. Jayalalithaa had MGR behind her. All of them already had parties. As I have myself established the MNS, the challenge is a big one. I have to visit as many constituencies as possible to campaign. Im fighting with all my strength. Im fighting only to win.

Transcribed by Sandeep Acharya

Translated from Marathi by Gautam Mengle