Uddhav Thackeray says Sharad Pawar a political back-stabber

Angry at the many attempts by NCP in the past few months to engineer defections in Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray launched a blistering attack on the Pawar family Monday calling NCP president Sharad a political back-stabber and his nephew Ajit a minister without work.

"My father never indulged in political back-stabbing. Even though he was kicked out by Sonia Gandhi from Congress, Sharad Pawar chose to join hands with the lady to gain power," the Shiv Sena president told a rally of nearly 34 trade unions planning a national strike on February 20 and 21, at Azad Maidan.

Thackeray has over the past few months taken an aggressive stand against NCP, which he believes is out to break his party.

On the other hand, he has appreciated efforts of Congress CM Prithviraj Chavan to cut NCP leaders to size.

He also slammed NCP leaders for ostentatious display of wealth when parts of the state are facing a drought. "Sharad Pawar said he could not sleep after seeing display of wealth by his minister in these troubled times. He should know these leaders have hoarded wealth only because of his patronage."

Thackeray led a morcha of the unions from Veer Jijamata Udyan to Azad Maidan. The unions are protesting rising inflation, increased privatisation and state anti-labour policies. Shiv Sena is backing their strike.

Thackeray demanded the state postpone HSC exams in view of the strike. "Or accept demands of the people," he said. HSC exams start Thursday, the second day of the strike.

Thackeray, however, said if the exam was not deferred care would be taken to ensure it is not affected by the strike.

Meanwhile, the chief minister appealed to the trade unions not to go on stike.

"The Centre needed to take certain decisions for the benefit of the economy. I would like to request people to reconsider the strike, so that common people do not suffer," he said.

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