Raj Thackeray on Thursday accused BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi of focussing too much on his state despite being projected for the country’s top job.
He also ruled out any need for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the state. “There is no need for AAP in Maharashtra, we are the baap.”
Modi should have resigned from the chief minister’s post the day he was declared as the prime ministerial candidate, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief said.
Thackeray pointed out that the BJP’s Hindutva mascot should have a national outlook and ditch regional parochialism and said the MNS would contest the polls on its own merit.
The defeat of the Congress in New Delhi showed that people would vote against established, mainstream political players if their expectations are not fulfilled.
Incidentally, Thackeray, whose party started an anti-outsider campaign against North Indian migrants in 2008, has been similarly accused of parochialism by his critics.
BJP leaders claim that Modi’s projection on the national stage and his ‘Moditva’ plank consisting of a combination of Hindutva and development, will help sway MNS voters, largely consisting of youth and first-time voters. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the defeat of the Shiv Sena-BJP combine in nine seats was attributed to the presence of the MNS.
There were speculations that Thackeray, who toured Gujarat a few years ago and appreciated Modi’s administrative acumen, may choose to join hands with the Shiv Sena and the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls to prevent the fragmentation of the anti-Congress-NCP votes.
“I respect him for the work done in Gujarat,” said Thackeray, who was in Nashik for a meeting of the party’s elected representatives and office-bearers to chalk out a strategy for the Lok Sabha polls.
“On the day he was declared as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi should have resigned as the chief minister of Gujarat,” he said. Despite joining national politics, Modi remained centred around Gujarat, Thackeray said.
“The PM should be of the country; he should not be of a state. All states should be equal for him. Narendra Modi must think on these lines,” he said.
“He came to Maharashtra and Mumbai and spoke about the Gujarati community. He came to Mumbai and spoke about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s statue but why not about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue?” He said the MNS would decide on supporting a PM nominee at the right time.
“A change is necessary in any form.”
Talking about the AAP, he said: “There is no need for AAP in Maharashtra, we are the Baap.”
In a veiled attack on Thackeray, BJP’s state unit chief Devendra Fadnavis said: “Modi’s image has risen to such an extent that due to this other personalities are being overshadowed. The TRP of many has reduced due to Modi’s TRP.”