Uddhav Thackeray, the fractious ally of the BJP took a page out of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's book and said much about Kumbhkaran, a character in epic Ramayana known for his remarkable ability to sleep. Mr Thackeray took on the ruling BJP not just over the temple issue, but over Rafale and the condition of the farm sector.
"I had gone to wake the Kumbhkaran in Ayodhya. Now I have come to Pandharpur," Mr Thackeray said at a rally in the temple town of Maharashtra known for its venerated temple to the Lord Vitthal. "Kumbhkaran might be asleep, but the country's Hindus won't allow it. They will build a Ram temple," he said.
Though Mr Thackeray did not name anyone, the "Kumbhkaran" remark was a near re-run of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's repeated comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi "sleeping" that had incensed the BJP.
Over the last week, Mr Gandhi had repeatedly alluded to the matter, initially declaring that he would not let the Prime Minister "sleep or rest" till he gave a reprieve to farmers on loans. Days later, he tweeted that the Congress "woke up" Chief Ministers on farm loans and the "sleeping" PM was next.
A third tweet said, "The Congress Party has finally jolted Narendra Ji from his deep slumber on Gabbar Singh Tax. Though still drowsy, he now wants to implement what he had earlier called the Congress Party's, "Grand Stupid Thought". Better late then never Narendra Ji!"
Uddhav Thackeray has been on the warpath over the Ram temple in Ayodhya, contending that for the BJP it was only a matter used to draw votes at election-time.
"It has been 30 years and still you say that matter is in court. Hindus are innocent but not fools. Let there be a discussion in Parliament on the Ram temple issue, who are in your favour on this issue among NDA will be clear," he said today in Pandharpur.
He has already held a meeting in Ayodhya. His next stop, he said, was Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of PM Modi.
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