Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday took a sarcastic dig at the Centre for renaming the Motera stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that India will now not lose any match there, reported the Hindustan Times.
Thackeray made the comments while replying to a discussion on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s address in the state Assembly. “Someone said now we won’t be losing any cricket matches because the name of the stadium has been changed,” the chief minister said. “We won’t be losing any match in that stadium... You erase [the] name of Vallabh bhai [Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel], do not award Bharat Ratna to Savarkar [Veer Savarkar] and try to teach Hindutva to us.”
The newly-refurbished cricket stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, was renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium last week. It was earlier called the Sardar Patel stadium. Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel had clarified that former Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s name was never associated with the stadium.
Various Opposition leaders had criticised the Centre over the renaming. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had accused Modi of crony capitalism over the name change and the two bowling ends being called “Reliance” and “Adani”. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also criticised the name change.
On Wednesday, Thackeray further criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party government, saying that neither the country nor Maharashtra was the saffron party’s “private property”, reported The Times of India.
The chief minister claimed that as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological mentor, did not participate in the freedom struggle, the saffron party should not use “Bharat Mata ki Jai” chants. “If you [the BJP] could not give justice to the common man then you have no right to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’,” he added.
Thackeray went on to target the Centre over the fuel price increase. “Petrol prices have reached to RS 100 while gas cylinders are heading towards the Rs 1,000-mark,” he said. “Thanks, at least, they have not increased the rate of bicycles.”
The chief minister also raked up the farmers’ protest against the agriculture laws and compared it with India’s response to the border standoff with China, according to IANS. “You could put nails on roads [to quell the farmers’ protest] and prevent them from entering the capital of the sovereign country, but you beat a retreat against China,” Thackeray said.