Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday lambasted Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for his `silence' on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's alleged insult to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the border dispute with neighbouring Karnataka.
Addressing a rally at Chikhli in Buldhana district, the former chief minister claimed that projects headed for Maharashtra were diverted to Gujarat due to the Assembly elections in that state.
''I fear that Karnataka is going to the polls next year and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has staked claim to Akkalkot and Solapur (in Maharashtra). Next year, these two places may be handed over to Karnataka,'' Thackeray alleged.
The Sena leader further said in a sarcastic tone that the Maharashtra chief minister might conclude that as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to get back Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), there is no harm in handing over 40 villages to Karnataka.
Shinde was also silent on the governor's controversial remarks about Shivaji Maharaj, he alleged. Claiming that nearly 1,000 farmers had committed suicide in Vidarbha in recent months, Thackeray said if he had been chief minister, he would not have allowed such suicides to take place.
The state government should waive electricity bills of farmers, he demanded, and said his party will stand by them to ensure that they get crop loan insurance money. Thackeray termed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a “party of imports”.
"Is it a political party or a Chor Bazaar (flea market)?" he asked. Thackeray also dared Shinde and other rebel MLAs (who broke away from the Shiv Sena in June and toppled his government) to announce that they will never contest elections on the BJP ticket.
''These people want the names of (Bal) Thackeray and Shiv Sena along with Modi's blessings. What is your own merit?" he said, referring to the name of the Shinde-led faction, `Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena'.
Thackeray expressed confidence about winning back the lost ground on the strength of the Shiv Sena cadre. ''Will you tolerate the high-handedness and dictatorship of the party of imports?" he asked the gathering.
Thackeray also said that insults to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and V D Savarkar will never be tolerated. He also appealed to people to support the bandh his party plans to call to protest against governor Koshyari. Koshyari has faced flak over the last few days for calling Shivaji Maharaj an icon of olden times.
(With PTI Inputs)