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Defeat Congress: Thackeray

Special Correspondent

— Photo: PTI

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray waving to the crowd at the Sena’s annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Sunday. Former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi is to his right.

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray on Sunday called for the Congress to be voted out of power on the India-U.S. nuclear deal and other issues.

Addressing the annual Dussehra rally at the Shivaji Park grounds in Dadar, Mr. Thackeray wondered “why we love America so much.”

He said he first supported the nuclear deal. However, he later felt that it would enslave the nation. According to him, even the Sethusamudram project was for the benefit of U.S. ships.

In a speech lasting 40 minutes, Mr. Thackeray said that even though he was physically weak, his thoughts were far from tired. He told the crowd that as long as he had the people on his side, he would never tire.

At the end of his speech he called on the people to take an oath to defeat the Congress and not let them come back to power in Maharashtra.

He said ordinary people did not care for the nuclear deal, as they were worried more about the prices of food items.

He made fun of the relationship between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Left and the seesaw battle over the nuclear deal. They were fighting like neighbours and patching up. He said no one knew what would happen to the deal and the government. He said merely hoisting the tricolour during Independence Day and Republic Day was not enough. “Are we really free?” He cited the situation in Kashmir and Assam.

He wondered why people still voted for the Congress though it had “virtually destroyed” the country over the years. In Maharashtra, the Congress had come back to power twice after the Shiv Sena-BJP government, he remarked.

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