End turnaround politics, Bal Thackeray tells Chavan


Mumbai : Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray Friday urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to end “turnaround politics” and compared Chavan’s U-turn on a proposal to make knowledge of Marathi mandatory for Mumbai’s taxi drivers to Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalk”.

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In an open letter to Chavan, Thackeray said that despite the bane of power cuts afflicting the state, most people got a “shock” two days ago when they heard about the government’s plans to issue new taxi permits only to people domiciled in the state and having knowledge of Marathi.

In the darkness of load shedding, most people wondered over the question: “Did he really make such a statement?” Thackeray said in the letter carried prominently in the party mouthpiece Saamna Friday.

A few hours later, as expected, the government turned around on the issue – just like the late Michael Jackson did in his number “Moonwalk”, Thackeray said.

This, he said, was not the first time that the government had adopted such an approach over issues. Thackeray referred to the mill workers’ plight in Mumbai.

“On one hand they talk of giving houses to mill workers and on the other they enter into deals with mill owners for constructing malls and skyscrapers on their lands. First the government raised expectations among Marathis for acquiring new taxi permits, then it backtracked. Please stop this kind of (turnaround) politics,” Thackeray urged.

The Sena chief said he was not opposed to any language, but in Maharasthra and its capital Mumbai, Marathi must be given the respect it deserved.

“Otherwise, when the anger of the people rises against you, your 150-year-old peepul tree (probably implying the Congress party) shall be reduced to ashes. So I humbly request you to kindly stop spreading this ‘gupt rog’ (private disease) of turnaround politics in the state,” Thackeray said, signing off in Marathi.