Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray Thursday criticised BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for continuously speaking about his own state, and asked him to adopt a broad, national outlook.
Thackeray also hit out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), saying nobody was aware who were its leaders in Maharashtra.
The MNS founder-president sought power for his own party to bring about change in his state.
Targetting Modi, Thackeray urged the Gujarat chief minister to discard narrow parochial interests and adopt a broad, national outlook.
“Wherever he travels, Modi keeps harping on Gujarat and its qualities. A prime minister belongs to the whole country and not to any particular state. Modi must keep this in mind and treat all states as equals,” Thackeray said.
“In fact, after he was nominated as the BJP’s PM candidate, he should have immediately quit as Gujarat chief minister,” Thackeray told media persons here at the start of a four-day pre-election preparatory tour.
Asked about the crowds attracted by Modi, Thackeray shot back that if that was the criterion for popularity, “even my meetings attract large gatherings”.
On Modi’s oft-repeated theme on Gujarat’s development, Thackeray said Maharashtra was ahead of Gujarat on all fronts.
However, he admitted that in terms of administration, Gujarat was ahead of Maharashtra and the people of Maharashtra were fed up with the existing state of affairs.
On the Aam Aadmi Party, Thackeray said it was true that the country needs a change but the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has no base in Maharashtra, and nobody was aware who its leaders are in the state.
“There is a chant of AAP, AAP all over the country. However, I have been raising similar issues since the past six years. For bringing about a change, we need power. Vote us to power and I promise you a clean government,” Thackeray urged people
He said he would fulfil his commitment if voted to power and there is no need for the AAP in Maharashtra.
The MNS is a potential challenger to the existing alliances of Congress-Nationalist Congress Party, the BJP-Shiv Sena-Republican Party of India (Athawale)-Swabhimani Paksha, and other smaller parties like Samajwadi Party besides regional outfits in the state.