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Certain misgivings unfounded for state's progress: Raj

By Staff
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Pune, Feb 22 (UNI) In a departure from his erstwhile party's ideology, estranged Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray today said certain misgivings pertaining to the attack on the culture will have to be ignored in the larger interest of the state.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that the date and name of his new political outfit will be made known shortly in Mumbai.

Addressing a huge gathering at city's busy Laxmi Road area here, Raj Thackeray said if the state was to progress economically, then certain apprehensions like ''attack on culture'' or ''Indianess'' had to be set aside.

Citing the example of Malaysia, he said that despite being a Muslim country, that nation had allowed bars and casinos for the foreigners in order to boost tourism. ''We can do the same with Konkan and not fear that our culture will come in way of progress,'' he said.

He said that he would like to change the face of Maharashtra where even after 59 years of independence, politicians still fought electoral battles on grounds of providing roads, power, water and employment.

He said Marathwada had remained extremely poor and backward despite the state having had three chief ministers from there.

Similar was the case with Vidarbha from where two chief ministers had only worked to serve their own interests.

Although western Maharashtra is prosperous, farmers and youth are struggling, he said, adding that he wanted to change all that and give ''shape''and face to the new-found enthusiasm and restore the lost identity of the state.

Mr Thackeray said, after touring Maharashtra, that he was convinced that the state needed a new direction and programmes for the youth, women, students and farmers.

A programme should be first chacked out before contesting elections, he said.

Talking about his exit from the Shiv Sena, he said he had only two options either to quit politics or float a new party, and he chose to do the latter as he was confident of support from all quarters.

He said he could not work under anybody except Sena Chief Balasaheb Thackeray, and although ''I am not allowed to use his pictures, he is in my heart.'' Raj Thackeray stressed there was no going back and he had no intention for a ''patch up''.

UNI DWN MAZ MH RN2330

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