Mumbai, September 30
A day after 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone railway station in Mumbai, MNS President Raj Thackeray on Saturday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “liar” and warned that he would not allow the bullet train project till all suburban commuters’ issues are resolved.
“I shall not allow even a brick for the bullet train project to be laid. First resolve all the basic problems of Mumbai commuters. If Modi wants, let him construct it in Gujarat. If they use force, we shall also retaliate,” an agitated Thackeray thundered.
Attacking the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he called Modi a “liar” who changed all his statements before and after the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
“We have never seen a Prime Minister who is such a big liar. He made big promises and then dismissed them as ‘election jumlas’. How much can a person lie in this fashion?” asked Thackeray.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President claimed that Suresh Prabhu was replaced by Piyush Goyal as the Railway Minister only to push through the bullet train project.
“This Goyal is useless, Prabhu was good.” Thackeray announced that he would personally lead a morcha to Churchgate on October 5 to oppose the bullet train plans and urged all Mumbaikars to participate in large numbers.
The MNS leader, who has in the past stoked controversies with his anti-migrant rhetoric, told reporters at his residence Krishna Kunj in Dadar, “There has been a collapse of infrastructure facilities due to the migrant influx from other regions.”
“Stampedes will continue to occur in Mumbai till hordes of migrants keep pouring into the city,” Thackeray said.
Saying that he travelled in Mumbai suburban trains for two years while studying arts at the Sir J J College here, Thackeray said, “What you call the famed spirit of Mumbai which overcomes such tragedies is actually hopelessness in face of such calamities.”
After the deadly stampede on Friday, there have been sharp reactions from across the public and political spectrum on priority being accorded to the expensive bullet train project vis-a-vis providing basic amenities to Mumbai’s daily eight million-plus railway commuters. Agencies