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Maharashtra

Stop vicious politics or you won’t be spared, Uddhav Thackeray warns BJP, MNS

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday warned the Bharatiya Janata Party and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena to stop their “dirty politics” or they would not be forgiven or spared.

Addressing a huge rally here, Thackeray targeted the BJP and his estranged cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray on a wide-range of issues including their brand of Hindutva, love for Marathi, the Centre’s pending GST dues to Maharashtra, BJP’s hurdles in various important development projects of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, and attempts to separate Mumbai as a Union Territory.

Ridiculing BJP Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis’ recent claims that he was present during the razing of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya (1992), Thackeray asked if he had gone on a school picnic there or some sight-seeing tour. “Look at his age and how much he blabbers,” he said.

Without naming his cousin, Thackeray compared him with the character of Sanjay Dutt who gets visions of Mahatma Gandhi in the blockbuster “Lage Raoho Munnabhai” (2006).

“There’s one case roaming around wearing a shawl like Balasaheb Thackeray and claiming to see his spirit… As in the film, he is suffering from some ‘chemical locha’ and needs treatment,” Thackeray said amidst applause.

Dwelling on issues of the high inflation or unemployment, the CM and Shiv Sena President said “first they should talk about the price hike” before questioning others’ Hindutva and diverting to loudspeakers (in mosques’ or Hanuman Chalisa, both recently raised by Raj Thackeray and the MP-MLA couple of Navneet Kaur-Rana and her husband Ravi Rana.

“You couldn’t protect one Kashmiri Pandit who begged for transfer from Budgam (Kashmir) to Jammu, and terrorists barged into his government office and shot him. Do you have the guts to go and chant Hanuman Chalisa there?” Thackeray challenged the Rana couple.

He thundered at the manner in which the Centre is providing security at public expense to “nincompoops” who target the MVA government but not the Kashmiri Pandits who really need it.

Referring to the break-up between BJP-Sena in October 2019, Thackeray sharply said that “we kicked the donkey before it could kick us” but they couldn’t digest it and continued to behave like “a jilted lover”.

“Now they are accusing us of leaving Hindutva by allying with Congress and Nationalist Congress Party… Whatever we did, we did openly, not like you swearing-in the government in the early morning hours. You made all attempts to bring us down, but when you failed, you deployed central agencies after us, yet nothing happened,” he said.

It seems now they will even go after Dawood (Ibrahim Kaskar) but if he joins them, they will even take him in the cabinet, he said in another swipe at the BJP.

The CM warned the opposition parties to stop the “dirty politics by framing MVa leaders under false cases, or the people of Maharashtra will neither forgive them nor spare” them.

Pooh-poohing Fadnavis, Thackeray said that if he had really gone to Ayodhya then (1992), he could have merely tried to climb atop (the Babri mosque) would have crashed down under his weight.

He blamed Fadnavis for “blocking the Kanjurmarg land” needed for the Mumbai Metro carshed, and attacked the Centre for not handing over the railway plan to facilitate the Dharavi slum redevelopment, and asked him to go and shout in Delhi for clearing Maharashtra’s projects.

“We never asked for the Bullet Train project, but it is being forced on us… Did anybody demand it? Yet our development projects are being stalled, our GST dues are not being cleared,” said Thackeray.

He reiterated that the Sena’s Hindutva was in the heart and not by merely wearing saffron caps or threatening others, for us, Hindutva “is Ram in our mouths and ‘kaam’ (employment) in the hands”.

Failing this, he cited the example of Sri Lanka “which is now in flames for the second timea by the people who are suffering there without food and livelihood”.

Maharashtra

BJP MLA Nitesh Rane asks Maharashtra CM details on ‘monsoon readiness’ plans for Mumbai

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Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Nitesh Rane on Monday raised the issue of water-logging that plagues Mumbai during the monsoon and sought to know the monsoon preparedness made by the state government and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.

In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nitesh Rane, the son of Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane, alleged that every year, the BMC makes claims of taking remedial measures, but nothing happens in the field.

As a result, many areas in the city are flooded and there are reports of people losing their loved ones due to water-logging, he said in his letter, sent ahead of the upcoming BMC elections.

“Shiv Sena, ruling the BMC for more than two decades now has no solution to offer to Mumbaikars who suffer from water-logging in the city during monsoons every year. You want to change the face of Mumbai by painting and beautification, but you ignore the main issues completely. This time, a good monsoon is forecast so one can imagine what is in store for Mumaikars,” said Nitesh Rane.

He brought to the notice of the CM about 386 ‘danger spots’ in Mumbai which are tagged as flooding-prone, of which the sites fall in south central Mumbai’s Matunga, Wadala, and Sion which create havoc if there is continuous rainfall.

Nitesh Rane said that on an average there are 22 days when Mumbai will experience high tides in the Arabian Sea, and if it simultaneously rains heavily on those days, then the city could face havoc equivalent to the great floods of July 26, 2005 that submerged the country’s commercial capital.

“Besides installing pumps at these flood-prone spots, what else have you done to provide relief to Mumbaikars,” questioned the BJP MLA from Kankavli in Sindhudurg district.

He demanded from Thackeray whether the state and BMC have made any advance preparations to resolve these recurring issues and give permanent solutions, or would Mumbaikars have to again suffer and bear floods.

Meanwhile, a senior civic official said that all pre-monsoon works are proceeding at high speed since April and most of it is near completion, though certain chronic or low-lying areas continue to be at risk of water-logging or floods as in the past.

“Besides, in the past few years, the flooding problem is more noticeable owing to the ongoing work of Mumbai Metro lines at various locations, the upcoming Coastal Road Project in south Mumbai, and certain other road projects, but we are taking full counter-measures,” said the officer, declining to be identified.

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Maharashtra

Congress ‘exposes’ BJP leaders who visited Aurangzeb grave

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With the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and MP-MLA Rana couple hounding the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for action against AIMIM chief Akbaruddin Owaisi’s visit to the Aurangzeb grave in Aurangzeb, the state Congress made a fresh expose here on Monday.

Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant has dug out old photos and videos of several BJP leaders who had visited the burial site of the late Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb at Khuldabad and raised uncomfortable questions.

“The BJP National Executive member and Spokesperson, and Jammu & Kashmir Waqf Board President Dr. Darakshan Andrabi had gone to Aurangzeb’s tomb during the Corona period,” he said.

Similarly, Khalid Qureshi, the Vice-President of BJP’s Minority Affairs also had gone there and in 2019, when current Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis was the BJP CM even AIMIM MP Asasuddin Owaisi went to pay homage there in 2019.

“The tomb is under the jurisdiction of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). So why can’t the Central government control, restrict or even ban entry to Aurangzeb’s grave?” Sawant demanded.

He wondered why Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government doesn’t initiate action against the Owaisis and even the BJP leaders who have gone to Aurangzeb’s final resting place in Khuldabad.

Sawant slammed the BJP, MNS and the Independent MP Navneet Kaur-Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana for blaming the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for the May 12 visit to the grave by Telangana MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi.

Some BJP and MNS activists threatened “to bury” Owaisi in a grave right next to Aurangzeb’s and the Rana couple challenged Maharashtra Chief Minister to take strong action against Owaisi for his trip there which sparked off a major political row.

Shiv Sena MoS Kishore Tiwari and other MVA leaders have dismissed the ‘frivolous demands’ from who they term as the BJP’s Team B, C or D and said they should not divert from more serious issues like runaway inflation, high prices of fuel and gas, rising unemployment, etc and point at the developments in Sri Lanka.

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Maharashtra

80-hour regime: Ajit Pawar, Fadnavis ‘ko gussa kyun aata hai’

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Thirty months after BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar suddenly took oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively, in the morning of November 23, 2019, that incident continues to haunt and embarrass them.

Despite their best efforts to chase away the ghost of that clandestine swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan that morning, it keeps popping up frequently in the most unexpected ways — this time raked up by none other than Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray himself at his huge rally on May 14.

Replying to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism, Thackeray declared that he allied with the Congress (and NCP) openly, not in an ‘early morning’ oath-taking ceremony of the 80-hour-long two-man regime — and his words pierced the target.

Willy-nilly, the CM also hinted at the ‘real secret’ behind why the Central probe agencies like the CBI, ED, NCB, I-T and the NIA keep hounding only the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party leaders for over two years.

The Shiv Sena President thundered saying if the BJP and MNS do not stop their vicious politics, hounding by the Central agencies, lodging false cases against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government leaders or their families, then “we won’t forgive or spare you”.

“Tomorrow, they will go after Dawood (Ibrahim Kaskar) but if he joins them, he will be made a cabinet minister… If that (2-man govt) ‘experiment’ had succeeded, then people like Anil Dashmukh or Nawab Malik would have been in your good books,” said Thackeray amid applause.

As the MVA government trudges to the mid-way mark in its five year term, BJP’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis continues to cry over the spilt milk, his ‘birth-right’ to power that he was unceremoniously deprived of after the 2019 Assembly elections.

The Ajit Pawar-Fadnavis duo has been lampooned and ridiculed since that indiscretion in Raj Bhavan, sans any trappings, but with the drapes drawn tightly to keep off peeping-toms prying at the political hustle enacted that dawn when the groggy state was engaged in its morning ablutions.

Once, displaying rare courage, Fadnavis confessed that “it should not have happened”, and again hammered Thackeray for ‘backstabbing BJP’ to grab power with the help of the Congress-NCP.

Even the much-pilloried Ajit Pawar, painted as a ‘black sheep’, feebly tried to justify the swearing-in event, saying it was not in the early morning as speculated, but “at 8 a.m.”, though later the NCP hugged him and rewarded him with the same post as Fadnavis did for 80 hours!

Wily Uncle and NCP President Sharad Pawar also never missed an opportunity to take a swipe at the dawn ceremony in his characteristic style.

In late-2020, when Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari published a coffee table book, Pawar wrote to him how everything was there in his coffee table book “except a particular swearing-in ceremony”.

Congress state President Nana Patole also took a potshot saying Ajit Pawar was to “explain” it at an appropriate time, but has nothing till date.

“So much water has flowed under the bridge… We 3 parties are now working together, the government is running well… Why do you keep raising it repeatedly,” an irked Ajit Pawar said of that 80-hour fling, Monday.

There have been heated exchanges inside the Maharashtra legislature and outside with the MVA leaders laughing and leering at that morning venture while livid unrepentant BJP leaders shielding it.

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