Afzal hanging: Thackeray disagrees with Omar

Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today disagreed with Omar Abdullah`s contention that Kashmir would flare up if Afzal Guru was hanged and demanded that the Parliament attack convict be sent to the gallows immediately.

Seeking execution of Guru, he said the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister should be "slapped in the face" for saying so.

"If you can`t hang Guru even after nine years, then put a lock on the government," he said at the party`s traditional Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai.

He also said that the government was spending a "huge amount of money" to keep Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab alive.

The Sena chief also claimed credit for the attack on errant autorickshaw drivers in the city yesterday, saying "My Shiv Sainiks taught them a lesson." Thackeray also flayed the state government for neglecting city`s mill workers. "I will join you when you come onto streets for the cause," he said.

Opposing the naming of Bandra-Worli sea-link here after Rajiv Gandhi, Thackeray said the nameplate should be pulled down. He also opposed plans for reclamation of land in Mumbai at the cost of fishermen.

Launching his party`s campaign for the Mumbai civic elections, which are barely four months away, he asked people to defeat Congress and re-elect Sena for another term.

"Resolve that you will defeat Congress in (BMC) elections," he said.

Alleging that there was an attempt to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra, he said, "I won`t allow anyone to split Mumbai from Maharashtra. If needed, I will fire bullets from the pistol at anyone who attempts to do so."

In a lighter vein, Thackeray recalled a conversation with a foreigner who thought that state Home Minister R R Patil resembled Charlie Chaplin.

He also mimicked the way Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan speak, and the way Union Home Minister P Chidambaram dresses.

Towards the beginning of the speech, he said, "What was Sonia Gandhi doing for a month abroad. Were the doctors in India dead."

Three generations of the Thackeray family were present at the Dusshera rally. The Sena chief`s son Uddhav, and grandson Aditya were on the stage.

In a remark which won`t go down well with new ally Republican Party of India (Ramdas Athawale faction), Thackeray said the name of the bustling railway station Dadar here should be retained and opposed the demand that it be rechristened as Chaityabhumi, which is the name of Dr B R Ambedkar`s nearby memorial.

On Athawale`s absence at the rally, Thackeray said another rally will be held at the same venue where Athawale will be present.

Earlier, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray alleged the government was giving a step-motherly treatment to Mumbai. "Of the funds Mumbai contributes to the Centre`s kitty, only two per cent are spent on the city`s development, while in the case of Delhi, the amount spent is 22 per cent."

He reiterated his party`s opposition to the Jaitapur nuclear power project in coastal Konkan, saying there was no need for the project at the cost of people`s lives.

Uddhav warned of an intense stir if the government fails to take a decision on mill workers` demands, including free houses. It was the mill workers who have saved Mumbai, he said.

Equating Chief Minister Chavan with Italian dictator Mussolini, Uddhav said the way police fired on hapless people in Jaitapur and Maval was a matter of disgrace.