The chief of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, a rightwing political party, Raj is known for his sharp-tongue. In his latest television interview, Raj Thackeray spoke on a number of issues including his strained relations with Shiv Sena and Rajnath Singh, and the support he extends to BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Raj Thackeray's relations with BJP is rather confusing. The Maharashtra politician has repeatedly stated on media that he endorses Modi as prime minister. But he shares an unpleasant relationship with BJP president Rajnath Singh.
I support only Modi, not everyone in his party: Raj Thackeray
On Thursday, when the interviewer Arnab Goswami asked him if he felt bad when Rajnath Singh spoke against him, Thackeray snapped, "Who Rajnath? Why should I talk about him? I support only Modi, not everyone in his party".
In April first week, Rajnath Singh had ridiculed Raj for his offering support to Modi. BJP doesn't need unsolicited support, said Singh who advised Rajto either join the NDA or merge his party with the BJP.
"I had expressed my support for Modi back in 2011. Why didn't he say anything then", asked Raj in the interview, adding that he is concerned about what Rajnath says. "I support the good works of Modi. I have never said I support BJP", he said, adding that the entire campaign of BJP is revolving around Modi.
"I support Modi because I want a stabble government at Centre. It doesn't mean I support all of his views", he said.
On asked whether MNS was making a compromise in the election by fielding just 10 candidates, Raj said, "We don't have a secret alliance with anyone. MNS isn't making any compromise for BJP". The MNS leader added that what matters is how many seats you win and not how many seats you contested from.
On Gujarat and Maharashtra
Modi had openly admitted in a rally that most of the industries in Gujarat and Maharashtra would be shut down if workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh quit. Does Raj agree with Modi on this?
Clearly No. Thackeray, known for his sharp criticism on people from other states migrating to Maharashtra for work, said, "Don't compare Gujarat with Maharashtra. Gujarat's population is half of that of Maharashtra. If industries employ workers from other states in Maharashtra, I will oppose it", he said.
On Shiv Sena
The stiff cold war going on between Shiv Sena, which Raj was once a part of, and MNS is well-known. On asked about the recent spat with Shiv Sena, which is headed by his cousin Uddhav Thackeray, Raj said, "I have never spoken anything against Shiv Sena in a long time now. But they attack me whenever they get a chance".
The recent fight between MNS and Shiv Sena allegedly started after Uddhav spoiled Raj's plans to join hands with BJP. However, Raj denied this saying it was BJP which approached MNS with the offer. "It was Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde who approached me with the offer to join hands for the election", said Raj, adding that if Shiv Sena had any issues with MNS, Uddhav could have talked it over phone instead of writing about it in Saamna, Shiv Sena's newspaper.
Watch the video here: