Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday dubbed Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's violent agitation at toll plazas as "politically motivated," with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
"In Kolhapur, the Shiv Sena agitation against toll was a success with the support of locals. But, when one hears of vandalisation of toll nakas in Mumbai, Thane, Pune under the cover of darkness, we should understand that those who were sleeping all the while on issues concerning the common man, have woken up and started their poll campaign," he said.
The state government had to take note of the Kolhapur agitation as the corruption in levy of toll came out before the people, he noted in an editorial in Wednesday’s edition of party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"The Shiv Sena-Bharfatiya Janata Party- Republican Party of India alliance declared that if voted to power in the assembly elections, Maharashtra would be toll free. However, some parties who were sleeping all the while suddenly woke up and vandalised toll nakas," he said.
Accusing the MNS of double standards on the issue of toll, Uddhav said some time back "some people" had appointed private auditors to count the number of vehicles at toll plazas in the state.
"However, the auditors disappeared as if the issue of toll was a thing of the past. How is it that stones are being pelted from behind the curtains?" he asked.
Uddhav said the need of the hour was to look for an alternative to levy of toll and stop corrupt practices in it.
"You need political insight and will to do that...this government has none," the Sena leader said. Admitting that toll was introduced by the previous Sena-BJP government, he said, "Because of the toll, six-lane Pune-Mumbai Expressway came up. People happily paid it because of the comfort travel. There were never potholes. But can you say the same thing for roads in Kolhapur, Nashik. Why should we pay toll for bad roads?"
Uddhav also said the "politicians-toll companies nexus" has now been exposed and levy of toll has to be scrapped. People of the state have seen through the falsehood of those who damage toll nakas for political gains and the "drama" will not last long, he added.
Raj Thackeray's MNS workers have been on the rampage, vandalising toll plazas in different parts of the state following their leader's diktat not to pay the levy and "thrash" those who raise a voice against it.