13 April 2019
Mumbai: Rattled by two rallies addressed by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday asked the Election Commission to ascertain who was funding them and for whom the MNS was campaigning.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis accused state Congress President and Nanded candidate Ashok Chavan of hiring third party leaders, like Raj Thackeray, for the campaign.
Education Minister Vinod Tawde dismissed Raj's rallies as 'stand-up comedy' and asked since the MNS was not contesting the Lok Sabha elections, for whom the party was campaigning.
"We want to know which political party will account for the cost of his rallies in their election expenditure and this should be made public by the EC," Tawde said.
Referring to Thackeray's strong language in which he appeals to people to 'finish off the politics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah', Tawde said the MNS had little political existence or relevance.
The MNS was not contesting the Lok Sabha elections, had no MP, no MLA and hardly any municipal councillor, "yet its chief speaks of 'finishing' others," said Tawde.
Reacting, to the BJP charge, the Congress state General Secretary and spokesman Sachin Sawant said, "The BJP is scared of the systematic manner in which the MNS leader is exposing lies of both Modi and Shah at his rallies."
"Actually, Thackeray himself made it clear his public meetings have nothing to do with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party-led opposition alliance. His rallies are aimed at creating public awareness on the falsehoods perpetrated by the BJP, Modi and Shah, and that thought process must be stalled," Sawant said.
In just two rallies, Thackeray, 50, has raised a political storm as he makes presentations with videos/statements of the BJP-Modi-Shah and the correct picture with similar evidences in his charismatic oratory.
Though his estranged cousin and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has kept mum, Raj is in big demand among opposition candidates.