Mumbai: Raj Speaks Up for Estranged Uncle Bal Thackeray

Mumbai, June 1 (IANS) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray Wednesday rushed to speak out in favour of his estranged uncle Bal Thackeray after the Shiv Sena chief was targeted by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

Speaking to media persons here, Raj Thackeray said Ajit Pawar's criticism of his uncle Tuesday was "totally inappropriate and unwarranted".

"The criticism is intended to divert attention from the different scams involving the Pawar family, which are coming out regularly. There was no need to criticise Bal Thackeray. It is the dirty politics pursued by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)," Raj alleged, wondering what else could have provoked the NCP leader to attack Bal Thackeray publicly.

Referring to the issue of renaming Dadar railway station after Dalit icon and constitution maker Dr. B.R.Ambedkar raked up by the NCP, Raj said his party MNS has always opposed changing existing names of important places.

"I have maintained that politics is being played out in the name of B.R. Ambedkar," Raj said.

To a question on Republican Party of India (RPI) chief Ramdas Athawale, whose outfit has joined hands with the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Raj said: "Athawale is not very important".

"I can hardly understand what Athawale is talking about or what he is aiming at," Raj said.

Referring to the Sena-RPI coming close, Raj said it was probably because Athawale's new bungalow was coming up close to the Thackeray residence Matoshri in Bandra East.

"I don't know how that bungalow has come up, who allotted the land for it, whether it is in some reserved category, or who is bearing the cost since nobody has heard of Athawale employed in any manner," Raj remarked, raising several questions on the Athawale's credentials.

Raj Thackeray's statements came in the wake of a war of words between Ajit Pawar and Bal Thackeray arising out of the Dadar renaming issue, and the proposed June 9 rally and procession by the Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI to oppose the ruling Congress-NCP government on various issues.

Speaking at a public function Tuesday, Ajit Pawar said all his life Bal Thackeray "has sat in his Mumbai bungalow" (Matoshri, in Bandra) and played politics in the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji by issuing all kinds of statements.

"What has he actually done for society, for the people and the state?" he asked.

Thackeray himself in an editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna gave Ajit Pawar a mouthful, and termed his attack on the Sena supremo as so much of "gas" that has left behind the stink.


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