Marathi plank to drought: Raj Thackeray trains guns on Pawars

Raj Thackeray

In a tactical move, MNS chief Raj Thackeray Friday shifted from Marathi to drought.

At a public rally in Solapur, he launched a scathing attack on the ruling Congress-NCP combine holding it responsible for the drought.

Raj said, "Where has the Rs 70,000 crore allocated for irrigation gone? Drought is not like earthquake. Signs of it were visible for years because of mismanagement of the state administration. Irrigation projects are incomplete, depriving people of the right to irrigate fields and drinking water.

"NCP president Sharad Pawar recently expressed displeasure at lavish weddings hosted by a party minister in times of drought. I agree. But my question to Pawar is, who is responsible for the drought?

The MNS chief said the water resources portfolio was with NCP for more than a decade. "Pawar's nephew Ajit held the reins of the irrigation department," he said.

Raj then turned on deputy CM Ajit Pawar.

"After his resignation and re-induction, Ajit has sobered down. Looks like he has reckoned the political might of his unclue. We all know how he had to plead to make a comeback in the government."

At a recent Kolhapur rally and at several other previous rallies, Raj had stuck to his pet issue of rights of sons of the soil.

Friday, however, he targeted the government and its ministers, especially Ajit Pawar.

Last week, Ajit had ridiculed Raj saying his drought rallies were a "minicry show".

A furious Raj retaliated Friday: "How I communicate with the people is my prerogative."

The MNS leader also took a dig at Union home minister Sushik Kumar Shinde, who hails from Solapur.

He questioned his contribution to dalits and people of Solapur district.

"I have repeatedly heard Shinde talking about his rise from an ordinary police sub-inspector to home minister. He never forgets to say how Sonia Gandhi has always bestowed her blessings on dalits. But I would like to know what has he done for the welfare of dalits, or people of Solapur, which is reeling from drought."

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