Expect another Pulwama-like attack during polls, predicts Raj Thackeray

Mumbai: Making a shocking prediction, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray on Saturday claimed that another “Pulwama-like attack” would come within a couple of months” at the height of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“Mark my words – another Pulwama-type strike will be organised in the next two months, during the Lok Sabha elections, to divert peoples’ attention from all problems to patriotism,” he said, addressing the MNS’ 13th anniversary celebrations.

This is because, Thackeray alleged, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have “miserably failed” in all their policies, including the Ram temple issue, or bringing back fugitive mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.

“The Pulwama attacks, in which 40 men (CRPF troopers) were killed, resulted in diverting attention from all the burning problems and the failures of BJP and Modi, and there were debates on nationalism,” he said.

Dismissing claims made by the BJP leaders including its President Amit Shah, Modi and others on the casualties inflicted in the Indian Air Force retaliatory strikes, Thackeray said, “Forget the claims of 200-250-350 terrorists killed… Mind you even if just 10 extremists had been killed, Pakistan would never have released our IAF (wing) commander Abhinandan (Varthaman).

“Forty of our men were killed, can’t we even ask questions? The BJP and Modi are using our soldiers for electoral politics,” he said.

Thackeray, however, said people are proud of the IAF for successfully carrying out the bombings.

He also accused Modi of faking grief when the bodies of the troopers were received, indulging in a stylish sartorial display all along, and at one point lauding how Indian businessmen make even bigger sacrifices than our soldiers.

Thackeray also charged the PM with “insulting” the sacrifices of our soldiers by saying that if the country had an advanced French fighter aircraft (Rafale), the outcome would have been very different.

He recalled that barely a week after Modi went to Pakistan and celebrated the birthday of (then Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif (December 25, 2015) by cutting a cake, Pakistan carried out the Pathankot attacks on Janaury 2, 2016, and then came the Uri terror strike of September 18 that year.

“After the tensions created by China in Doklam in June 2017, there were calls for boycotting all Chinese products, then why was the China-made Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue acceptable to you,” he asked.

Attacking National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, he said that according to reports, he had secretly met his Pakistani counterpart in Thailand on December 27, and his son’s company had an Arab and a Pakistani as partners.

“Its is okay for them to have Pakistani business associates, but when anybody else has a Pakistani partner, they are immediately labelled as anti-nationals and traitors. Why such double standards?” he thundered.

Thackeray also attacked “the orphaned troll army” of the BJP and asked his activists “to teach them a lesson” whenever they abuse the MNS, amidst repeated rounds of cheers and applause all through his stinging speech.

On the crucial issue of the party’s stand during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, he continued to maintain the suspense of the MNS role vis-a-vis the Opposition parties’ alliance.

But he assured the gathering that he would take the decision at the right time, which would be in the “best interests of the party, the people, the state and the nation”.