Amend or abandon GST: Uddhav Thackeray tells BJP-led Centre
Uddhav Thackeray, the disgruntled former ally of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), launched a sharp attack on the Centre on Sunday, saying that the GST system has failed and it should either be amended, or the old system should be brought back. The Maharashtra Chief Minister was speaking at Shiv Sena's Dussehra event and claimed BJP had neither ideology nor culture. Here are more details.
According to Thackeray, the Centre owes Rs. 38,000 cr in GST dues to Maharashtra. The Western state isn't the sole one suffering due to the Centre's policies, he added. "We are not getting our rightful GST dues and everyone (other non-BJP state governments) is complaining about it. The country is not a property that belongs to one political party," fumed Thackeray.
Thackeray opined that the GST system has failed and urged CMs to come together for a discussion. "I feel that Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) should accept the lacunae in the GST system honestly and that it should be amended accordingly. Otherwise, we should revert to the old tax regime that will benefit the states," he suggested. He also slammed BJP's conduct amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Saying that coronavirus disrupted world economies, Thackeray added, "At such a time, if the BJP is more interested in toppling governments instead of paying attention to the country's economy, then I think we are inviting anarchy." Thackeray, who leads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, dared BJP to try and topple his government. To recall, after breaking ties with BJP, Thackeray had joined hands with Congress and NCP.
"If your foundation stone has weakened, you have no culture, thoughts...nothing, then such a government will not last long. First, protect your government. Because one day, people will look beyond you and say anybody will be fine, but not you," Thackeray added.
Due to coronavirus-associated precautions, Sena's annual event at Savarkar Memorial auditorium was attended by only a handful of members. Reports pegged the number of attendees to 50. To note, this was the first time Thackeray addressed the event as the CM. Being accused by BJP for sliding away from core ideologies, Thackeray said his father Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva wasn't about "clanging bells and utensils."
Launching an attack on Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Thackeray said, "People who were not known beyond their family, are asking us questions on Hindutva." The CM and Governor locked horns recently when the latter shot a letter, seeking re-opening of religious places. Koshyari had asked Thackeray if he turned "secular" and subsequently was reminded by the CM about the tenets of the Constitution.
Referring to RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat's Dussehra speech, Thackeray asked if those "wearing black caps" agree with him or not. "RSS chief said there are people who are creating doubts on Hindu, Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra. Who are these people? Do you know?" he went on. The RSS chief said "Hindutva has been narrowed down to only observing puja rituals," noted Thackeray.
Thackeray also slammed Bihar's incumbent CM Nitish Kumar, reminding that in 2014 he sought a "secular" face as a PM candidate. "Has Nitish donned Hindutva robes or has BJP become secular now," he asked. On BJP's poll promise of providing free coronavirus vaccine to Bihar residents, Thackeray questioned, "Are people of other states from Bangladesh or Kazakhstan?" He said these remarks were shameful.
Besides politicians, Thackeray also berated actor Kangana Ranaut, who had earlier equated Mumbai with PoK. Her remarks, the demolition of her office, and a sedition case against her have soured Kangana's relations with the Maharashtra government. "Those who come to Mumbai for bread and butter are abusing Mumbai by comparing it with PoK," Thackeray said, dubbing such people as "namakharam."
"You are not able to put your foot in PoK. But if a PoK is being created in a country that is ruled by (PM) Modi, then it is the failure of the PM (Modi) and not of the state," he added.
Thackeray also spoke about the sensational Sushant Singh Rajput case, in which his son, Aaditya, was also dragged. "Those crying for justice for Bihar's son are indulging in character assassination of Maharashtra's son," the CM said. He also said, "You cannot do anything against us as we are clean. You used offensive language against us, but nothing happened because we are clean."