Mumbai, Mar 18: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the BJP-led NDA government, calling for opposition unity and a ‘Modi-mukt Bharat‘ by 2019. “The country is fed up with the false promises made by Narendra Modi and his government,” he said while addressing party workers at a rally in Central Mumbai’s Shivaji Park.

All opposition parties should come together to get rid of the BJP-led NDA government to ensure “Modi-mukt Bharat”, he said, reminding the audience of BJP’s “Congress-mukt Bharat” slogan. “India got its first Independence in 1947, second in 1977 (after the post-Emergency elections), and 2019 can bring a third Independence if India becomes ‘Modi-mukt’,” the MNS chief added.

He also attacked the Modi government over demonetisation. “If the Modi government was ousted and an inquiry is ordered into demonetisation, it (the note-ban) may turn out to be the biggest scam ever since 1947,” he quipped.

On the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, Thackeray said that Ram Mandir should not be used as an election plank to divide the society and win votes. “The Babri Masjid demolition case is in the Supreme Court and it will be deliberately discussed in the coming days to instigate communal riots,” he added as he assured his support in favour of building a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Modi’s foreign tours, Thackeray said Modi was apparently visiting foreign countries to get “flour for Pakoda” as his tours haven’t fetched any investments.

Quoting a report of ISRO, Thackeray said, “A large scale desertification of Maharashtra is going on due to depletion of groundwater. After Rajasthan, our state has reported the second highest rate of desertification in country.”
Saying this, he went on to question chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s claim of digging of 56,000 wells in the state. He also took a dig at Fadnavis over featuring in a video song on river conservation recently. “There are so many problems in the state, but apparently the CM is busy singing songs,” he said.

The leader took potshots at the government for its decision of according state funeral to Bollywood actor Sridevi after her death last month. “Sridevi was a great actor, but what had she done for the country so that her body should have been wrapped in the tricolour?” he asked. He even accused the media of covering her funeral extensively at government’s behest to divert people’s attention from the Nirav Modi-Punjab National Bank scam.

The MNS chief talked about Bollywood films – “Toilet Ek Prem Katha” and “Padman” – and said that they were a covert propaganda for government schemes. He said Akshay Kumar, who starred in both the films, is not an Indian citizen. “He holds a Canadian passport and his Wikipedia profile describes him as Indian-born Canadian actor,” Thackeray said.

Incidentally, Raj Thackeray had met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar yesterday ahead of today’s rally. He, however, described the meeting at Pawar’s residence in south Mumbai as a courtesy call.

(Inputs from PTI)