Mumbai: Addressing his party men and supporters through a pre-recorded tape, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Wednesday took pot-shots at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, union ministers Sharad Pawar and Sushilkumar Shinde and other leaders.

Shiv Sena brought out a huge rally attended by over a lakh at Mumbai's Shivaji Park in Dadar in central Mumbai. The ailing Thackeray, however, did not attend but addressed the gathering through the tape that was played at the ground.

Criticising the state of affairs in the country, Thackeray said that Bangladesh has almost captured parts of Assam, and questioned as to why no attention is being paid to the same.

Calling union Agriculture Minister Pawar and Home Minister Shinde as "Betaals" (vampires in folklore), Thackeray said that he wishes that the nation get rid of such ghosts.

He also said that only Shiv Sena has raised the issue of Belgaum (in Karnataka but claimed by Maharashtra) and has religiously fought for it.
Getting sarcastic about Gandhi, Thackeray quipped: "Mughals have left India, British have also left, but now we have the Italians."

However, the 86-year-old Sena chief was frail and fell short of breath after every few sentences. Speaking about his ill health, he said: "I wanted to address you all in person, but my health has not permitted me to do so. I am tired and I have collapsed healthwise," he said.

"But I will continue to fight for the interest of Marathi Manoos. It is our base," he asserted.


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