MNS leader Raj Thackeray, once considered close to Narendra Modi, on Thursday said the Gujarat Chief Minister should have resigned the day he was nominated BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, a suggestion immediately rejected by the saffron party.
Thackeray also criticised Modi for his ‘excessive’ focus on Gujarat and said instead of talking about his achievements there he should think about the whole country.
“The day Narendra Modi was nominated BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, he should have quit as chief minister. The prime minister is of the entire country and not of a state,” he told reporters at Nashik.
The MNS leader said though he appreciated Modi’s work in his state, BJP’s prime ministerial contender was always thinking about Gujarati people.
“Even when he is in Mumbai, he thinks about Gujarati people, talks about honouring Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, but is not seen talking about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who was also great,” he said.
Thackeray said he has not yet decided about supporting Modi in his bid to become prime minister.
Thackeray’s remark drew a sharp response from BJP, an ally of his estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, with its Maharashtra unit chief Devendra Fadnavis saying Modi is competent enough to decide when to quit.
“Modi is performing his duties as chief minister with efficiency. So there is no question of his resigning from his post,” he said in Mumbai.
“Modi doesn’t speak about Gujarat…he speaks about development, growth, inclusivity, social sector, demographic advantage, jobs…he speaks about India. If Mr Thackeray had listened to Mr Modi’s speeches, he would never give such a reaction,” Fadnavis said.
He said since Modi had dwarfed his rivals, they were repeatedly attacking him.
Asked about the prospects of Aam Aadmi Party, which made a stunning debut in Delhi assembly polls, in Maharashtra, the MNS leader said his party was still its ‘Baap’ in the state.
“There is no need of AAP, we the Baap are here. Today, you are all talking about AAP, but I have been saying for the last many years that vote me to power in Maharashtra because things cannot change otherwise. I would fix Maharashtra’s problems,” he said.
Anjali Damania, Maharashtra convenor of the fledgling AAP, while reacting to Thackeray’s comment on her party said, “Who is the Baap, only elections will decide. I think everyone should mind his own business, look at how to grow your party rather than commenting on others.”