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Sena calls Modi’s New Year Eve address ‘stale’

Mumbai: Continuing its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Shiv Sena on Monday termed the sops announced in his New Year’s Eve address to the nation as merely “stale pakodas in new packets”.

In a strongly-worded edit in the party mouthpieces Saamana and Dopaharka Saamana, the Shiv Sena said there was nothing new in the “hail of announcements” made by Modi.

In fact, it said many schemes were launched by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

“For instance, the announcement of Rs 6,000 for pregnant women was launched by the UPA as ‘Indira Gandhi Matrutva Sahyog Yojana’, so what’s new in this?” asked the Sena sarcastically.

It added that “left-over pakodas were warmed up, and dished out again with a dash of fresh chutney”, but warned that eating such stale food could create huge health problems or even cause death.

However, basic questions were not addressed by Modi in his address, like when would peoples’ suffering end, two months after the demonetisaton of November 8, 2016, when Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes were scrapped.

“He did not say anything — because he has nothing to say in the matter… he should have explained why the country was pushed into such a major crisis or how many more sacrifices are expected from the masses…” the Sena said.

It also referred to the shocking case of Chhotulal from Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh who could not withdraw Rs 2,000 for his mother’s treatment. Worse came after she died when he could not get money from the bank for her funeral.

“There are millions of Chhotulals in the country who are cursing the government, hundreds have died in banks and ATM queues…,” said the Sena, which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra as well as at the Centre.

The Sena said under such circumstances, there was no point in “thanking people for their sacrifices” and the sops announced meant little to the Chhotulals of the country.

The edit dwelt on the ongoing plight of the ordinary folks still sweating it out in banks and ATM queues, the misery of the rural masses, the farmers and others hit hard by demonetisation.

“We have full regard for Modi, but when it is a question of the financial crisis gripping the country, we shall speak the truth… which is not a crime but ‘patriotism’ in our view,” the Sena said.

The edit concluded that Chhotulal’s mother may die, but demonetisation woes will continue… “We sympathise with Chhotulal in his hour of grief.”