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Arrest Lalu, demands Uddhav Thackeray

April 11, 2009 11:43 IST

Claiming disparity in implementation of poll code of conduct, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray today demanded immediate arrest of RJD leader Lalu Prasad for "threatening" BJP nominee Varun Gandhi.

"If Varun can be arrested for his alleged inflammatory remarks, then why not Lalu," Uddhav, who is now the de facto head of the saffron outfit, told PTI in an interview at the Sena headquarters in central Mumbai.

"Varun didn't take any name in his speech but was still arrested, that too, under the stringent National Security Act. Why is Lalu being spared? Everyone should get equal treatment," he said.

Under the Election Commission (EC) scanner for his remark that had he been the Home Minister, he would have ordered a roller to crush Varun for his alleged anti-Muslim speeches in Pilibhit, Lalu has said what he referred to was `legal bulldozer'.

"What kind of democracy is this where there is disparity in implementation of model code of conduct," Uddhav, who has been slapped with an EC notice over his allegedly derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Mannmohan Singh, said.

"The code should be transparent and has to be codified. One should be able to know precisely what is right and wrong while speaking. Otherwise we will be hauled up in court if there is either an omission or commission of some words," he added.

Asked why Sena had not mentioned `Hindutva' in its poll manifesto, Uddhav said the issue has also been "hampered" by the code of conduct. "We are not talking much about Hindutva because of the code of conduct, but haven't given up the issue."

Uddhav expressed hope that his party's efforts to garner Dalit votes in Maharashtra will succeed on the lines of BSP leader Mayawati's "social engineering" success in UP.

"This is our third generation trying to bring `Shiv Shakti' (power of Shivaji) and `Bhim Shakti' (power of Bhimrao Ambedkar) together. I have not lost hope."

Uddhav, who took a whirlwind tour of Maharashtra ahead of the elections, is optimistic about his party's success in the poll arena.

"There are winds of change blowing in Maharashtra. I have realised during my rallies across the state that people need change. Don't be surprised if Sena gets unexpected success," he said.

Asked about the demand for reservations to Maratha community in the state, Uddhav said it is not an election issue.

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