Nashik, Mar 26 (IANS): Shiv Sena-UBT President and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party for misusing central probe agencies and smothering the Opposition's voice
Addressing a huge rally in Malegaon, Thackeray said that whenever the Opposition leaders criticise the BJP government, they are termed as "anti-national" and cases are slapped against them.
However, the BJP leaders keep abusing the Opposition leaders, slap all kinds of cases against them, interrogate even their pregnant women or minor 6-year-old grandchildren in the name of weeding out corruption, he added.
"The BJP is the most unscrupulous party with all corrupt people joining it... The BJP's own leaders say that it is like a washing machine where all become clean... So how can criticising them be termed as 'desh-droh' (treason) and against (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi? Our freedom fighters did not fight for all this. Is Modi India? Is that acceptable to you," thundered Thackeray as the crowd roared back its "no".
He cited instances of the probe agencies which interrogated the 6-year-old granddaughter of Nationalist Congress Party ex-minister Anil Deshmukh, a pregnant woman and teenagers in the family of RJD chief and former Union Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and pointedly asked: "You accuse me of discarding Hindutva? Is this your brand of Hindutva?"
Supporting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in his fight against the BJP, Thackeray however, forcefully reiterated his plea, urging him (Gandhi) "not to keep targeting Swatantryaveer Vinayak D. Savarkar".
"I am publicly appealing to Rahul Gandhi... You are doing a great job, fighting for the country. But, Savarkar is our icon... We shall not tolerate any insults to him," Thackeray advised the Congress leader.
Thackeray also attacked the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government for following his footsteps and addressing "retaliatory rallies" instead of working for the farmers and people of the state.
"Look at this massive rally... They could steal the party founded by the late Balasaheb Thackeray, they steal my father's name and also my CM's post, but they cannot rob me from the peoples's hearts. The masses are with me and the usurpers will be given a reply," the ex-CM repeated his warning.
Meanwhile, BJP's Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, who took a swipe at the rally in the Muslim-majority town by "Ali Janaab Thackeray" and the Urdu welcome banners put up in the town, got scathing rejoinders from Sena-UBT MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and spokesperson Dr. Manisha Kayande.
Chaturvedi tweeted photos of an Iftar invite of "Janaab Fadnavis", Mumbai BJP chief "Jaanab' Ashish Shelar and other leaders, and an Urdu banner showing Shinde for an event.
"Their shameless politics and hypocrisy never ceases to amaze. There's no limit. How many lows would you plumb to establish a new low?" she said.
Dr Kayande said: "When you do it, it's 'raasleela', when others do, it's our character 'dheela'?"
Prior to the rally, a delegation of distressed farmers called on Thackeray and submitted a memorandum listing their problems and demands from the state government.
Thackeray is scheduled to address a series of rallies independently and also along with the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Congress-NCP in the state over the next three months in the run-up to the civic elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.