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Agriculture sector witnessing bigger scams than Rafale, alleges Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena has called for a discussion on Ram temple issue in Parliament.  

Agriculture sector witnessing bigger scams than Rafale, alleges Uddhav Thackeray

MUMBAI: BJP's estranged ally Shiv Sena, which has already said that it will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections alone, yet again made a blistering attack on the NDA government over various issues including the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Rafale fighter jet deal with France and farmer' woes.

Attacking the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that the present dispensation gave the Rafale defence contract to a company which had no prior experience in manufacturing defence equipment.

''A company which had no experience was given a contract (Rafale Deal). Soldiers of our country need a pay hike which you don't give, but you do scams in the purchase of arms and ammunition,'' Uddhav Thackeray said.

Shiv Sena president said that with various scams going on in the country, it seems that "chowkidars have become thieves" - a direct takeaway from Congress slogan.

"There is a scam bigger than Rafale in the agriculture sector. Despite having four state-run insurance companies, the government has given out contracts to 12 companies who have nothing to do with crop insurance. The poor farmers may be debt-ridden, but they will not flee like Vijay Mallya or Nirav Mod-Mehul Choksi," Thackeray said.

Referring to what he termed as "scams" in the defence and agriculture sectors besides 'jumlas' of other schemes such as Rs 15 lakh in every Indian`s bank account or the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, Thackeray attacked the ruling ally BJP on a host of issues.

Addressing a much-anticipated rally in the temple town of Pandharpur, Solapur district, he hit out at the BJP for getting "possessed" by the spirits of gods in raking up the Ram temple before elections, achieving nothing in the past over three decades.

"I went to Ayodhya (November) and have come to the holy land of Pandharpur. I want to wake up the sleeping Kumbhakarna -- you exploited Ram temple to win elections and now you are in a slumber. We will not rest till the Ram temple is constructed," Thackeray roared.

Further attacking the saffron party for delaying the Ram temple issue and not fulfilling its promise of constructing a grand temple in Ayodhya, the Shiv Sena chief demanded the BJP to clear the air on the issue at the earliest. 

''It's been 30 years and still you that matter is in court. Hindus are innocent but not fools. Let there be a discussion in Parliament on the Ram temple issue, who are in your favour on this issue among NDA will be clear,'' the Sena chief said.

The Shiv Sena supremo also urged the leaders of NDA alliance partners - Nitish Kumar of JD (U) and Ram Vilas Paswan of LJP to declare their views on 'Hindutva' and construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Speaking to media persons, the veteran Maharashtra politician threw a hint that he may visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in the days to come. 

Uddhav Thackeray had recently visited Ayodhya and offered prayers at the makeshift Ram Lala temple there.

The Shiv Sena had been extremely critical of the BJP government's functioning and its policies and accused it of not taking other NDA alliance partners in confidence before taking major decisions.

Commenting on the results of recently concluded assembly elections, Shiv Sena said that the results are a clear message to the BJP and there is a need for the ruling coalition to introspect.

Shiv Sena spokesperson and the party's Rajya Sabha lawmaker Sanjay Raut said the trends reflect that the BJP's victory chariot has been halted.

"This is a clear message and it is the time for us to introspect," Raut said in a Parliament Complex.

The two parties contested the 2014 Maharashtra polls separately but later joined hands to form the government in the state.