Thackeray describes Raj as 'chicken' in Mah politics

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Mumbai, Feb 8 (UNI) Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has described the tirade against North Indians unleashed by MNS, the outfit floated by his estranged nephew, Raj Thackeray, as a means to build his political career.

The octogenarian leader said he agreed with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar that the tactics to gain free publicity should be ignored. Without naming Raj, Mr Thackeray said ''chicken'' in state politics are suffering from ''Bird Flu'' of depression, and hence have no value.

Mr Thackeray asserted that Shiv Sena was the only voice of Marathi speaking people. In the last 40 years, the relationship between the paraty and Maharashtrians was not that of a political alliance, but of a family. Electoral successes of the party had proved that only Maharashtrians had the first right over its state capital.

''It is laughable that some people, who have quit this family, should speak of the welfare of Maharashtrians,'' Mr Thackeray noted.

The Sena chief said that those who gave excuses of constitutional rights of every Indian to live and work in any part of the country should keep in mind that this right was not exercised at the cost of the locals.

He said even Dr B R Ambedkar had expressed deep concern over the burgeoning migrant population in the city, and it was Prabodhankar (Thackeray's father) who brought Dr Ambedkar into the Sanyukta Maharashtra movement.

Mr Thackeray said, ''When we demand that Marathi speaking people should be given priority in the metropolis, we do not consider cast, region and religion. Shiv Sena's simple theory about Marathi speaking person is a person who is true to Marathi soil, culture and tradition. But, how can you call people who have not gelled into the Marathi society even after living here as Maharashtrians.? The Sena chief maintained that his party had never demanded that non-Maharashtrians be thrown out of the city. ''We have only said that if you want to stay here, be loyal to the city and the state, if Marathi speaking persons demand priority in jobs and employment in the city, how can it be called unconstitutional?'' he asked.

Mr Thackeray also justified his stand of Hindutva, stating that he gave the call of unity to all Hindus when Islamic terrorism was raising its head in the country. ''Some secularists get angry when I speak about the dangers posed by illegal Bangladeshis residing in the city,'' he said.

''Our stand on Hindutva was a means to warn and protect the country against dangers of terrorism, while we also fight for the rights and self respect of Marathi speaking persons in Maharashtra.

I cannot understand how many times this simple stand of Shiv Sena should be explained to people who have been living in the metropolis for several years, but still consider themselves outsiders,'' he said and recalled that Shiv Sena took to streets during the 1992-93 riots in the city to protect all Hindus and not just Maharashtrians.

UNI MR NM PK VC1430

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