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July 25, 2000
Bhujbal should quit: Thackeray
Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Bombay
"They are ready to go back to the Cabinet tomorrow. I have already informed the prime minister about this decision," Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray told reporters soon after the judgment dismissing the case against him in a Bombay court on Tuesday. 'They' are, of course, Manohar Joshi, Suresh Prabhu and Eknath 'Balasaheb' Vikhe-Patil, who resigned from the Union ministry on Friday to lodge their protest against the Maharashtra government's decision to arrest Thackarey
Asked if he was happy with the way the National Democratic Alliance government had handled the case, he said, "The NDA government did whatever they could. I have no grievance against them."
Thackeray denied that he was arrested and said he had gone to the court on his own. "I spoke to Bombay Police Commissioner M N Singh and stated I want to come to court. I don't like to see the tension which is going on in the city for no reason."
"I was just sick to see the news that I would be arrested today, tomorrow and what not. I therefore felt that everyone is suffering. Children were not able to go to school and I was feeling very bad about it. Every Bombayite was suffering, so, I decided I would go to court myself."
When reporters pointed out that the city police claimed he had been arrested, he said angrily, "There is no question of being arrested. I went to court on my own with the police. This is because I could not go to court on my own as the judge would have asked 'what is the case against you?' "
Thackeray denounced Sena renegade, Deputy Chief Minister and state Home Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, saying, "Lakhoba (his epithet for Bhujbal) has no shame. He should resign if he has any shame."
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