Asked his opinion about the scenario in the country, in the interview by Saamana executive editor Sanjay Raut, Mr. Thackeray said, “I am not a big intellectual or an expert, but I understand the pulse of the people. Today we need to give a fitting reply to terror attacks. The government has completed two years, and it was important to keep these things under control. But, it does not appear to be so. But, I am hopeful that Modi will rectify everything.”
Asked if the ruling dispensation which talked about teaching a lesson to Pakistan had kept its promise, Mr. Thackeray said, “We all know the reason behind this. At this stage, I remember the words of our sages… Practice what you preach. People who do so are revered. Unfortunately, India has not got such a ruler till now, who can walk the talk on (wiping out terror.)”
Asked to comment on the government’s performance on economy, Mr. Thackeray said, “The common man is not impacted by the stock market fluctuations. He is directly impacted by inflation. So has inflation really reduced? Then what difference has the change of government made to the common man’s life? Those who are experts in this field should throw some light on this.”
“They say economy is in the doldrums, but I can understand one thing. I do accept that revival of the economy would take some time, but one should at least get a feeling that we are heading towards the right direction,” he said.
Taking on the Modi government on big ticket announcements like Make in India, Mr. Thackeray said “Whether its Make in India, acche din , Stand up India or Start up India. They have started new initiatives with a great bang, but when will it be implemented? What is the time frame for it? Are the youngsters getting employment today? How many people benefitted by Start Up India? Yes this is important. It is easy to change the names of old schemes, but “Start Up” means you have to “Take Off…If we just keep talking, one day people will know what is the truth.”
Asked why he keeps criticising the government when his party is a BJP ally in Maharashtra and the Centre, Mr. Thackeray said, “Our stand about this government is very honest. We wish this government runs smoothly so that it can fulfil the promises it made to the people of the country. However, whenever we feel that the government is deviating from its course, we have all the right to ring the bell. After all, Modi government is the last hope of the country.”
Asked if the dialogue between BJP and Sena had reduced, the Sena chief said “We can’t say that. Earlier, I had not much dialogue with Delhi leadership, but there was a time when whether it is Atalji or Advaniji, they would discuss things with Shiv Sena chief.” Recalling how Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde continued to be the bridge between Delhi leadership and the Sena, Thackeray said though new leadership had emerged in both the parties, Shiv Sena has not changed its stand.
“I am not saying BJP’s thought had changed, but the next generation of leadership has emerged, and this generation got power also quickly. I feel after they have settled in the regime, they should look at dialogue (with allies).”
Asked if he was taking the initiative for dialogue, Mr. Thackeray said “I and Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) have an excellent dialogue between us. But, BJP should also create bridges between Delhi leadership, the CM, and me.” He also dismissed the reports of differences between the Sena-BJP over allocation of portfolios in the State as well as the Centre. “Who says we have not got proper portfolios? It is the media which is unnecessarily beating this drum,” he said.