MUMBAI: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, whose comments ridiculing north Indians settled in Maharashtra led to violence and also his arrest, has continued his tirade - this time in a media interview.
In his interview to Marathi weekly magazine Lok Prabha of the Indian Express group, the MNS chief is quoted as saying: "It is the cultural hegemony which some north Indians want to impose on Maharashtrians that I oppose."
"We will go with folded hands and ask them to leave. If they refuse, then we will raise our hands," he said.
Thackeray also lambasted many Hindi television news channels, saying: "I barred them from entering my press conference (last week) because while on one hand they branded me as a hoodlum (goonda), they refrained from using any kind of expletives for north Indian leaders like Amar Singh."
Asked to comment on migrants' contribution towards developing Mumbai, Thackeray said, "Mumbai's development is more due to Parsis, Gujaratis, Marwaris and to some extent Punjabis."
"But look at the people who come from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar: they enter the city with nothing and then after gaining a foothold they never mix up with the local people. In fact, after some time, they start organizing Chhath Puja and Uttar Pradesh Day and I object to this cultural hegemony."
Lok Prabha editor Pravin Tokekar said: "The MNS chief has technically not made any inflammatory statement. Even when he says he and his party would go with folded hands to people asking them to leave and only raise hands if they refuse, he treads the ground gingerly without naming any community or party per se."