What Happened To BJP's Poll Promise Of Making Maharashtra Highways Toll-Free, Asks Raj Thackeray

Referring to the accidents on the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway, he said that so far 400 people have lost their lives in the newly-constructed highway.

MNS Chief Raj Thackeray addresses party gathering.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Wednesday asked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) what happened to its election promise of making the state highways "toll-free".

He also once again claimed that the move of some Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs joining the Eknath Shinde-BJP government earlier this month has the blessings of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Speaking to the reporters here, Thackeray also targeted Union minister Nitin Gadkari over the condition of roads in Maharashtra.

Some MNS workers allegedly ransacked a toll plaza in Nashik in the early hours of Sunday after party leader Amit Thackeray was stopped at it earlier, police had said. 

Talking about it, the MNS chief said, "The incident of toll plaza being vandalised by MNS workers took place after the staff at that booth misbehaved with Amit Thackeray. It was a one-off incident and that does not mean that my son is on a spree of ransacking the toll plazas. He is touring Maharashtra."

"He was stopped despite having a Fastag and the reaction came after he was faced with rude behaviour at the toll plaza," Thackeray said. He said instead of just talking about the issue, the BJP should speak on their election promise of making the state highways toll-free. "Every time one particular person gets the contract for toll. Who is he?" he asked.

Referring to the accidents on the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway, he said that so far 400 people have lost their lives in the newly-constructed highway. "There are no safety railings on the highway. Will the BJP or government take the responsibility?" he said.

The construction of Mumbai-Goa highway has been going on for the last 17 years, Thackeray alleged. Speaking about Gadkari, he said, "The union minister for road transport and highways is a Marathi and hails from Maharashtra, but the roads in the state are worse. Nothing can be more unfortunate than this."

Asked that there is no Leader of Opposition in the state legislative assembly, Thackeray cryptically said, "I can see my party as the only opposition party in the state." Otherwise, everyone else has strings attached to each other, he said. 

"The day a group of NCP MLAs led by Ajit Pawar went to the Raj Bhavan (and became part of the Eknath Shinde-led state government), I had tweeted that the first batch had been dispatched. See everything is happening as per that. See the hoardings, there are photos of Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar together," he said.

When pointed out that Sharad Pawar has been attending the opposition parties' meetings at the national level, he said he has been seeing the politics of senior Pawar for the last many years. Replying to a query whether the rebel NCP faction's move of joining the government was a "milibhagat" (collusion), he answered in the affirmative.

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