Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has said he has no enmity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi but he has the right to speak his mind.
“I had good relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is no personal enmity, but when you find that his policy is causing damage to the country, then one has to oppose… PM Modi is not my enemy, but I have the right to say what is good and what is bad,” Thackeray said in an interview with India TV on Tuesday.
Notably, Shiv Sena is an ally in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre.
Hitting out at the central government’s demonetisation move, he said: “Did affluent people die because of ‘notebandi’? I didn’t notice a single rich man standing in queues. Nearly 200 people lost their lives while standing in the queues. One of them was a jawan of BSF.”
“In their manifesto, they (BJP) had promised to bring back black money stashed in Swiss banks and put it in people’s accounts. Demonetisation could be the Prime Minister’s own decision but how many people were rendered jobless, how many people died? Unemployment has increased, who is responsible for that?” he said.
The Shiv Sena chief took a jibe at Prime Minister Modi, saying he didn’t care “how many inches wide his chest is” the Prime Minister should have “a heart inside his chest”.
Speaking on the ongoing Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Thackeray said Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav should be “given another chance” to become the Chief Minister.
“He (Akhilesh) is doing good work and he should get another chance. He is a young man, and if provided he doesn’t make any mistake, he should get a chance,” Thackeray said.
Asked whether his party was moving out of alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra, Thackeray quipped: “They (BJP) can also take the decision (to break the alliance), why should I take? Could they have formed the government without our support?”
The Shiv Sena chief also questioned Prime Minister Modi’s closeness to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar by saying: “During the elections, PM Modi used to level charges of corruption against chacha-bhatija (Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar). But now he visits Sharad Pawar at his residence and says he is my Guru.”
“Isn’t it a duplicitous policy? This could also be the reason for breaking the alliance. I am ready. I did not agree to the alliance only for gaining something,” he said.