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If they set fire, we will cease them

Uddhav’s statements against Raj indicate that a patch up between both estranged cousins seems unlikely.

Uddhav Thackeray
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray took potshots at MNS president Raj Thackeray and said, “We don’t set fire but if anybody starts it we extinguish it” in a function held at the city’s fire department in Vikhroli. Uddhav’s comments came two days after Raj Thackeray had asked his party workers to burn autorickshaws driven by non-Maharashtrians. Uddhav’s statements against Raj indicate that a patch up between both estranged cousins seems unlikely. Raj Thackeray had quit Shiv Sena in 2006 and formed Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. There has always been reports in media about Uddhav and his estranged brother Raj coming together. Whenever assembly or municipality elections approach, media start speculating about a patch up between the two cousins.

The Shiv Sena is an established political party in Maharashtra on the other hand MNS is yet to gain its foothold in the state. Few years back, the MNS had played spoilsport by winning 13 seats in the 2009 assembly polls and was emerging as a strong opponent of Sena. However voters have given a thumps down to the MNS in the 2014 assembly election as the party could manage to win only one seat prompting Raj Thackeray to rethink his poll strategy. The party now faces a tough task to revive itself in the state. Both leaders have often attacked each other politically. Even though politically the cousins have attacked each other – as a family they remained together. In July 2012, when Uddhav had to undergo angiography and angioplasty, Raj, his wife Sharmila,  and other family members were by his side.

A political commentator who doesn’t want to be recognised said, “Both Uddhav and Raj have ideological differences and they can’t come together. Raj is keen to have a single party rule in the state and hence he won’t go for an alliance with Shiv Sena.”

On the other hand, Raj Thackeray asked his party workers to call of the agitation to burn autorickshaws driven by non-Marathis. Raj had taken this decision after receiving flak from opposition leaders as many of them had urged the state government to take action against him. They also said that he was trying to create enmity between various communities in the city.

Earlier Raj had alleged corruption in the purchase of 70,000 new autorickshaws in Mumbai for which the BJP-led state government is issuing permits. The MNS chief alleged that the BJP-led government’s haste in issuing these permits was to benefit a particular company that manufactures three-wheelers, each costing Rs 1.7 lakh.

According to Thackeray, almost 70-72 per cent of those who were issued permits were people from outside the state. Soon after Thackeray’s statement a rickshaw was found burned on Thursday night adjacent to the Andheri RTO. Meanwhile police is examining the speech delivered by Raj.

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