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  Metros   Mumbai  22 Sep 2017  Dawood Ibrahim wants to return to India, says Raj Thackeray

Dawood Ibrahim wants to return to India, says Raj Thackeray

Published : Sep 22, 2017, 2:00 am IST
Updated : Sep 22, 2017, 7:14 am IST

The BJP, however, rubbished Mr Thackeray’s comment saying that he is an insignificant leader.

Raj Thackeray
 Raj Thackeray

Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Thursday claimed that fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim is keen to return to India and is negotiating with the Centre, and that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to gain political mileage out of it. “I have information that Dawood Ibrahim wants to come back to India, as he is unwell. He has been negotiating with the Centre,” said Mr Thackeray. The statement sparked off a political controversy.

“Once he is ready to return to India, the Narendra Modi government will blow its own trumpet over it. It will be a political move of the BJP,” he said. Mr Thackeray made the claim in the backdrop of the recent arrest of Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar over extortion charges. After losing all the major polls in the last three years, the MNS chief on Thursday tried to make a comeback by opening a Facebook account to communicate with his followers.

The BJP, however, rubbished Mr Thackeray’s comment saying that he is an insignificant leader. “The statements by the leaders are not taken seriously if people do not take them seriously,” BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.

However, the BJP refused to directly comment on Dawood’s return. “We have seized properties of Dawood, which was not done by the earlier government. No such action was taken in the earlier regime. We believe that people take note of the work done by the government,” Mr Bhandari said.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), meanwhile, asked Mr Thackeray to come forward with more information about his claim. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Raj should explain how and where the talks between Dawood and the Indian government are happening. He should also share other information related to Dawood.”

In his speech on Thursday, Mr Thackeray targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and played the Marathi card to woo his voter base.

Expressing disappointment about Mr Modi, Mr Thackeray said he was now repenting that he had supported the then Gujarat chief minister for the Prime Minister’s post during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. “I was the first to support Modi as the Prime Minister of India because I thought that he would do something. But we see only events and nothing else. They talked about Make in India, what happened next? They came up with Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and took photos cleaning roads. But what happened with the scheme?” he said. The MNS chief had even gone to Gujarat before the polls in 2009, and met Mr Modi to extend his support to him.

Lashing out at Mr Modi’s dream project, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, Mr Thackeray said it would benefit only the Gujarati community. “Bullet train is meant for crossing big distances in lesser time. The train could have been planned between Mumbai and Delhi or Mumbai-Kolkata or Kanyakumari and Delhi. But this bullet train will benefit only Gujaratis in Mumbai and Ahmedabad because we are not going to go to Ahmedabad. It has remained their dream to cut Mumbai from Maharashtra,” he charged.

Mr Thackeray did not spare the Maharashtra government’s metro rail project either. “The metro routes are defined in such a way that it will raise the prices of real estate, which only Gujaratis can afford and Marathi people will be kept away,” he said.

Tags: maharashtra navnirman sena, raj thackeray