Thane, Nov 16 (PTI) MNS chief Raj Thackeray on Thursday took a dig at the BJP over its top leaders' promise of taking people to Ayodhya for a visit to the Ram temple once it is over, saying the ruling party seems to have set up a "tours and travels department".
His statement comes in the wake of Union Home Minister Amit Shah promising in Madhya Pradesh that the BJP government will arrange a trip to Ayodhya for the people of the state if it retains power there. Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar has also said a special train to Ayodhya will run after January 24 next year for Mumbaikars to visit the newly-constructed Ram temple.
"It appears to me that they have started setting up a tours and travels department...You should contest elections on the basis of the work you have done. Why are they luring voters with the promise of ‘darshan’ at the Ram temple," Thackeray told reporters during his visit to Thane.
He also questioned why the Maratha quota issue was being raised when elections were round the corner, and expressed suspicion that there was someone else behind Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange's protest.
"This (Maratha) reservation will never become a reality. I have said this earlier as well...Is there anybody else behind (activist Manoj) Jarange?..Attempts to disturb the peace in Maharashtra through caste politics are on. All this is happening when elections are round the corner. This is not simple and straightforward...We will come to know who is behind all this later." Jarange, who was on a hunger strike in Jalna district to press for the Maratha quota issue called off his protest earlier this month. He has set the deadline of December 24 before the government to implement reservation for his community.
Thackeray alleged that since the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was founded in 1999, the caste politics and hostility among people from different caste groups started in the state.
He accused the ruling parties of diverting the attention of voters ahead of the elections.
"The attention of voters is diverted...Wrong people are elected by people and ultimately, it is the voters who suffer for five years after the elections," he added.
But one should not forget that nobody remains in power forever, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president said.
He said political parties and candidates take voters for granted.
"The voters should not only be educated, but also be wise and choose right candidates," Thackeray said.
Talking about his party's opposition to collection of toll on roads, he said, "All the data is ready and I am waiting for the (Diwali) festival to get over." He said he will hold a meeting with the persons concerned and prepare a roadmap, he said.
Referring to the Supreme Court's direction to shopkeepers in Mumbai to install new Marathi signboards, Thackeray said the state government has not bothered to implement the order, which was passed in the last week of September, so far.
"The MNS had approached the court on the issue of Marathi signboards and was surprised that a section of traders went to courts against the decision. I am surprised that people who live in the state, who earn livelihood here, approached the court against Maharashtra's language." "But I thank the SC as it has decided that the native language of the state should be respected," he said. PTI COR NP