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Raj Thackeray tells Congress and BJP

Raj Thackeray, president of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), on Sunday asked the Congress and the BJP to stop slandering national icons like VD Savarkar and Jawaharlal Nehru, and instead focus on key issues facing the country .

Addressing party workers at a convention here, Thackeray said criticizing national heroes who fought for independence was unwarranted as everyone has “positive and negative aspects”.

“Does Rahul Gandhi have the stature to speak ill of Savarkar sentenced to 50 years in prison? There is such a thing as strategy to get out of prison. How can it be referred to as surrender or mercy? he asked.

Gandhi had caused a row by claiming that Savarkar had written pleas for mercy to the British from Andaman mobile prison.

“The BJP has slandered Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and this should stop. There are important issues facing the country that need to be addressed. You will gain nothing by criticizing national heroes who fought for independence. Everyone has positives and negatives. There is no need to highlight the negative side now,” said the MNS chief.

Meanwhile, Congress hit back at Thackeray, saying people have lost faith in him because he keeps changing his political stance.

Thackeray also criticized Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for his comments about Chhatrapati Shivaji, accusing him of being “anti-Marathi” insulting the 17th century king.

He asked MNS activists to prepare for the upcoming civil society body elections of Mumbai.

“I’ll make sure I hand over the civilian body to you,” he said, but kept quiet about the prospects of an alliance.

Referring to the governor’s earlier statement, if Gujaratis and Marwaris leave Mumbai, it will no longer be the financial capital, Thackeray asked if so, why can’t the people from these communities return to their home states? “But they won’t go because Mumbai provides them with infrastructure and a favorable atmosphere for business,” he said.

The MNS chief said public discourse in Maharashtra has reached a new low.

“A minister of state has publicly abused a female politician. If this continues, youth will lose confidence in the political system,” he said.

Major controversy erupted after State Minister Abdul Sattar used a derogatory word while criticizing NCP MP Supriya Sule. He later apologized.

Mumbai Congress President Bhai Jagtap said, “Thackeray had no right to criticize Rahul Gandhi. Forget India, Thackeray may not have seen all of Maharashtra. MNS as a political party has ended. He (Thackeray) imitated Rahul in his speech, but he (Thackeray) gives a voice in movies these days. The MNS chief was angry about the huge response of Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra”.

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