Speaking at an event organised by the Editors Guild of Pimpri-Chinchwad, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray emphasised on Saturday that a noticeable transformation has occurred in the political landscape of the state. He attributed this shift to the influence of news channels, which he accused of magnifying politicians’ statements.
Addressing the gathering at the Ga Di Madgulkar auditorium in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Thackeray remarked, “The level and language of politics has changed… You people are showcasing them (politicians)… and that’s why they speak whatever they want.”
While Thackeray voiced his support for laws against assaults on journalists, he also added, “However, journalists need to introspect as well… Journalism should be carried out fearlessly, without taking sides. No one questioned Ajit Pawar about his alliance with the BJP or the nature of his political approach.”
In response to comments about his party’s vote count, the MNS chief pointed out, “People often taunt me for the lack of votes despite having substantial crowds at our rallies. Yet, they overlook the fact that in 2009, we secured 13 MLAs. In the Lok Sabha elections, our candidates garnered over 1 lakh votes. Even the BJP, in its early days, had only two MPs. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Bal Thackeray were able to draw immense crowds but didn’t necessarily convert them into votes. During that era, Congress was often the predominant choice. Just like others, every ruling party has its time in the sun.”
Elaborating further, he remarked, “The day you assume power, you start losing grip on it. You can merely extend its duration.”
Thackeray said journalism in Maharashtra is alive but went on to slam scribes working on behalf of others. “Several journalists have become a spent force. Certain individuals are now working directly for ministers. Previously, they engaged in such activities discreetly, but now their actions are overt,” he alleged.
Thackeray also offered counsel to journalists, urging them not to be swayed by online trolls. “With the proliferation of mobile devices, more individuals are voicing their opinions. However, they often lack an understanding of the context behind events or statements before sharing their views. Political parties have even enlisted individuals for this purpose… So, why should you feel compelled to respond to such individuals?” he questioned.