Mumbai: Slamming Raj Thackeray's remarks on non-Marathis getting autorickshaw permits, the Opposition Congress and NCP today accused him of pursuing "hate politics" and demanded that BJP-Shiv Sena government take legal action against the MNS president.
Claiming that 70 per cent of new autorickshaw permits were given to non-Marathis, Thackeray had yesterday threatened that his party workers will set afire these vehicles if they are seen plying on roads.
Congress spokesperson Al-Nasser Zakaria said Thackeray's "open threat to incite violence" speaks volumes about the BJP-led government's inability to reign-in "terror elements", while NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said there are Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) provisions under which he can be arrested.
Zakaria said "it is shocking that somebody makes a hate speech and he is allowed to go scot-free."
"When a non-politician like Kanhaiya Kumar speaks, he is immediately labelled an anti-national and put behind bars. Why is the same yard stick not applied for Raj Thackeray?" he sought to know.
"If he can openly speak of inciting violence in the present regime, it speaks volumes of the present government's inability to reign in terror elements," he said.
Malik said that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has been rejected by people in the last 10 years due to its "hate politics".
"It is clear that Raj Thackeray is trying to use the medium of hate politics to build a ground for himself, not understanding that he is getting rejected repeatedly for the last 10 years only because of this reason," he said.
"There are provisions in the CrPC that can lead to his immediate arrest for asking his men to indulge in violence. If the BJP government does nothing about it, people will understand there is a secret pact of the MNS with the BJP to spread terror among migrants and get Marathi votes," Malik said.
Raj yesterday claimed that around 70 per cent of those given new permits are non-Marathis, and demanded that only sons of the soil should be given licences.
Addressing a gathering of party supporters on the occasion of MNS's 10th foundation, Thackeray had said, "If any such auto with a new permit is seen plying on the road, those sitting inside will be asked to come out and the auto will be set on fire.... Since Shiv Sena holds the state Transport portfolio, I want to ask how much is it getting in the deal."