Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) will continue with its anti-toll booth agitation. This is what party chief Raj Thackeray announced on Sunday while addressing a public rally in Pune on Sunday evening. Raj also announced a state-wide rasta roko from Wednesday.
Only recently, MNS activists had vandalised toll booths in various parts of the state.
He dared the state government to arrest him or even stop him from carrying out the agitation. Raj was quick to clarify to his supporters gathered at the venue that his rally was not a platform to sound the bugle for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He said he was not opposed to toll tax being charged but said that he was opposed to the manner in which it was being collected. "Every rupee collected at toll plazas has to be accounted for," said Raj.
The MNS president said said that his party's agitation against toll would continue till the government stops the collection as toll plazas, he said, have crossed their expiry date.
He criticised the alliance government of Congress and Nationalist Congress Party in the state as also Shiv Sena for flaying him over the toll issue.
"I have met the chief minister with concrete evidence of such toll being collected illegally but he expressed helplessness," said Raj, going on to add that the chief minister's helplessness stems from the fact that he heads an alliance government.
"When I move court, it works exactly in the manner shown in the film, Damini. It's tareekh pe tareekh. And when I take it to the streets, the media targets the MNS," said Raj.
He said that Gujarat charges toll as per rules laid down by the Centre. The minimum distance between two toll plazas is not less than 80km. "But in Maharashtra, it's 30km," said Raj, adding that there are no service roads and toilets for ladies are lacking on highways except for the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
Raj said that MNS will put up all information about tolls in the state on mobile phone apps which will be launched next month besides social media.
Speaking of safety in the state, Raj presented a beacon displayed on the roof of vehicles of top police officers and of ministers. These lamps, he said, are available at a price at an ordinary shop.
"So, if these lamps and a few fake uniforms are available to terrorists, what will happen?" said Raj, raising the question whether Maharashtra is safe to live in.
Referring to a statement made by Supriya Sule about setting ablaze ministers' vehicles, Raj said his party would willingly pinpoint such vehicles and "chun chun ke maroonga", meaning he would pick on such ministers and shoot them.