Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that job losses and businesses shutting down were a reality irrespective of whether one accepts that there is an economic slowdown.

“Whether there is economic slowdown or not we will see later but jobs are going, businesses are shutting down this is clearly visible and let us accept that,” Thackeray said in the second part of his interview with party mouthpiece Saamana, the Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday.

Thackeray, whose party is in an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra for the upcoming Assembly elections, also attacked the state administration for the felling of trees in Aarey Milk Colony in Mumbai, for the purpose of building a metro car shed. “Babus who have murdered the trees will have to pay the price for it,” Thackeray said, echoing his remarks from a few days earlier.

As many as 2,141 trees have already been cut in Aarey Colony. On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered a stay on the cutting of trees till October 21, following a plea against the felling. It also asked the petitioners to prove through documents that Aarey is a forest.

Thackeray also said on Monday that vendetta politics should not be practiced through the use of agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate. “If the government is acting with vengeance or with a mindset of vendetta [then] my firm opinion is that power and rights should not be misused and no one should practice vendetta politics,” he said, referring to a notice the Enforcement Directorate issued to Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar last month. “Honestly, this issue was not required before the elections.”

Asked whether the state government had failed to provide adequate flood relief to the people of the Marathwada region, Thackeray chose to focus on climate change. He said climate change had become a problem not only for Maharashtra but the whole world.

In the first part of the interview, Thackeray had admitted that the Shiv Sena had made a compromise with the BJP by contesting only 124 seats in the Assembly elections. The BJP and smaller allies are contesting the remaining 164 seats. The Shiv Sena had reportedly asked for at least 135 seats.

The Assembly elections are scheduled to be held on October 21, and the results declared on October 24.

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