Bal Thackeray urges people to vote out CongressOctober 9th, 2008 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, Oct 9 (IANS) Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray Thursday urged the people to vote out the Congress government not only from Maharashtra but from all over the country in the next general elections.Speaking at his customary annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in the evening, Thackeray urged his partymen - Shiv Sainiks - to take a pledge to bring the Sena back to power in the state and ensure “Shivshahi” at the centre.
“Udhav recently went on a tour of the state. The condition of the common masses is pitiable. This government has no right to continue in office for even a minute,” Thackeray said.
Touching upon several issues, Thackeray said the issue of Maharashtrians or Marathi language was not new. “The party has been concerned about these since its inception,” he pointed out.
Discussing terrorism, Thackeray said the late prime minister Indira Gandhi was a woman of substance who had the courage to send the army to flush out terrorists from a place of worship.
“What prevents this government from sending the forces to mosques if they are found to be breeding terrorists?” he asked.
He said fundamentalist elements have lost respect for the law and the government, and “the country has gone into the ditch.”
In this context, he said that whenever the Sena raises the issue of Hindutva, it faces severe criticism. However, unlike the Muslims, who retaliate whenever there is an attack on their religion, “nobody is bothered about Hindutva”.
On the contrary, the Muslim minority continues to be pampered on account of electoral compulsions of the Congress, he said.
He also poked fun at Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s speech in Nanded two days ago where she addressed a rally.
“She gave a speech on Guru Gobind Singh. Does she even know who he was?” he wondered. He compared her to a kettle from Italy (“kitali from Italy”), even as the crowds guffawed.
Thackeray made a passing reference to son Uddhav’s maiden speech at the venue minutes before he arrived on the stage in a specially-erected elevator. “You decide about his speech and how aggressive it was,” he said.
He vowed that as long as the Shiv Sainiks are around, Shiv Sena would be around and it is the duty of the party workers to bring the party back to power in the state.
Uddhav, senior party leader Manohar Joshi and some aides were seen prompting Thackeray, who appeared weak and weary, on a few occasions during the course of his speech.
He was also given a tablet, apparently to clear this throat, as the senior leader was seen coughing several times and experienced difficulty in speaking.
As expected, Thackeray made his presence felt by his speech, laced with the usual caustic sarcasm, wit and hammering the ground reality effectively.