Raj Raps Sonia, Chavan; Pawar Praises him

MNS chief Raj Thackeray, accused by Shiv Sena-BJP alliance of being ‘an agent’ of the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party, has launched an attack on the ruling combine, saying their rule in the sates is an utter failure.

In the tirade, he made UPA president Sonial Gandhi and chief minister Askok Chavan his specific target.

Mimicking UPA chairperson’s recent speech accusing opposition parties of politicizing Shivaji’s name, Raj said that it was just that Congress was doing.

“Who is planning to build the statue of Shivaji Maharaj in the sea?” he asked.

Criticising Chavan, Raj said, “He is in the chair only due to the blessings of Madam (Sonia Gandhi). In Andhra Pradesh, people committed suicide when YSR died but here people are killing themselves because the chief minister is alive,” he said.

In the meantime, MNS leader Shishir Shinde, infamous for digging – the Wankhede cricket pitch in 1991 to protest against the Pakistan team’s tour of India – threatened to launch an attack on Australian team with footwear and stones to protest against attacks on Indian students in Australia. The Australian team is slated to play in the one-day series beginning October 25.

Earlier, on  Thursday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar showered praise on Raj, saying that that he had emerged as an icon for the younger generation, a day after his nephew, irrigation minister Ajit Pawar, declared that the NCP was not allergic to the MNS.

Stunned and shocked by the Pawars’ words, a senior Congress leader surmised that the NCP, evidently rattled by the pre-poll survey on the outcome of the assembly polls, was drafting a plan to rope in the MNS.

Were the unexpected observations of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit by accident or design? And will their statements change political equations in Maharashtra after the assembly polls?

According to a pre-poll survey, the NCP is expected to win 45 to 50 seats, substantially less than the 71 it had won in the 2004 assembly polls. The poll predicts 10 to 12 seats for the MNS, which is contesting 144 out of 288 seats.

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