2019 polls to decide fate of democracy: Raj Thackeray

Satara (Maharashtra), April 17: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray on Wednesday warned the people of the country to beware as the 2019 parliamentary elections outcome would decide whether democracy will survive or pave the way for autocracy.Targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah at a large rally here, he said that they have displayed "all signs of autocracy, curbing freedom of speech, gagging the media and enslaving the masses as was done by the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler."Modi has been only speaking lies since five years. You must be on guard now and ensure that neither the BJP nor its allies are voted back to power for safeguarding your future," Thackeray cautioned.He said that during his entire tenure, Modi has been speaking a lot about the previous governments, but not a word about his own five-year tenure, the dreams of Make in India, Skill India, Startup India, Swachh Bharat, etc."Demonetisation gobbled up four-and-half to five crore jobs in the country, Goods & Services Tax killed businesses. Spiking the Rs 500-Rs 1000 notes only benefited the BJP. It is blowing money during the Lok Sabha elections and all the Assembly elections held in the past five years. It has built a lavish 7-star party headquarters. From where has all this money come?" Thackeray said, amidst rounds of applause.Playing relevant video clips of Modi before and after he became Prime Minister, he said when he (Modi) was in opposition, he questioned then Prime Minster Manmohan Singh how did RDX come into India for terror attacks."But he has not answered from where the RDX -- which killed 40 troopers in the Pulwama attacks of February 14 -- came into the country? Modi asked Singh to avenge one Indian soldier by killing four Pakistanis, but he himself invited Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in, went to celebrate (Sharif's) birthday. Was it really necessary?" Thackeray demanded.He said that the maximum number of Indian soldiers have been killed on the borders in the past five years, but Modi never showed remorse, he and others like BJP Maharashtra MLC Prashant Paricharak have "insulted" our jawans many times in the past, but now politically exploiting their sacrifices to seek votes."For all this, Modi should apologise to the armed forces," Thackeray said, adding that the maximum number of soldiers from the state hail from Satara.Referring to taunts by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP leaders on why the MNS was organising rallies in the state although it was not contesting the elections, Raj hit back: "It doesn't mean I cannot speak against the injustice meted out by Modi-Shah in the country. I will expose in the public domain all the falsehoods perpetrated by them in past five years."He pointed out that it was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who first opposed the Mughals and the British rulers. "So why can't a Maharashtrian be the first to speak out against the despotism of Modi-Shah?"Thackeray called upon the people to exercise their franchise with extreme caution as it would decide the very future of democracy and their own freedom.

IANS

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