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MNS Leader Avinash Jadhav Goes on Indefinite Hunger Strike Over Toll Hike in Thane

Raj Thackeray Questions Toll Hike, Criticizes Government and Chief Minister

October 09, 2023 : In a bold move to protest against the recent toll rate hike in Thane, Avinash Jadhav, a prominent leader of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), has initiated an indefinite hunger strike. This peaceful demonstration aims to demand the suspension of the toll rate increase, which has sparked widespread public dissatisfaction.

MNS supremo Raj Thackeray showed his support for the hunger strike by visiting Avinash Jadhav at the protest site. During their meeting, Thackeray urged Jadhav to reconsider his hunger strike, emphasizing that such actions were not the primary role of the party. Following their discussion, Raj Thackeray addressed reporters at his Mumbai residence, where he took the opportunity to criticize the government, including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

Thackeray expressed his concerns by stating, “There has been a toll rate hike at all five toll booths in Thane. In response, Avinash Jadhav and other MNS members embarked on this fast to represent the concerns of the people. However, I reminded Avinash that fasting is not our primary mission. I assured him that I would visit him the following morning. Over the years, the MNS has spearheaded numerous protests, both official and unofficial, resulting in the closure of 65-67 toll booths across Maharashtra.”

Raj Thackeray also criticized the ruling coalition by pointing out their unfulfilled promises. “In the manifestos of the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, they pledged to make Maharashtra toll-free, a promise repeated in 2014 and 2017. Yet, these promises remain unfulfilled. People often inquire about the toll movement, but its outcomes remain elusive to many.”

Highlighting a specific concern, Thackeray pointed out, “Among the five toll booths in Thane, there’s the toll for a flyover on Peddar Road, which remains incomplete and unlikely to be finished anytime soon. This raises questions about the toll collection for an unfinished road. We must ask: How much are we paying in tolls? What is the cost for vehicles? Where does the collected toll revenue go? It seems our cities continue to suffer from pothole-riddled roads, improper construction, and the burden of road taxes, tolls, and various other taxes.”

Thackeray also questioned the ownership of these toll booths, asking, “Who are the loved ones of the toll collectors, particularly Mhaiskar? Even Eknath Shinde filed a petition against this toll. It’s imperative to understand why the petition was withdrawn and who influenced its withdrawal.”

Expressing his astonishment, Thackeray remarked, “It’s bewildering that during elections, people endure hardships, yet they continue to support those who deceive them. Those who lie to you will never acknowledge their wrongdoing unless you vote against them. Such issues recur in every election cycle.”

In conclusion, Raj Thackeray appealed to Avinash Jadhav, saying, “I have urged Avinath Jadhav to end his hunger strike. One life lost does not matter to those in power. I will also engage in discussions with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde regarding this matter.” The hunger strike remains a symbol of public discontent against the toll hike, sparking broader discussions about taxation and governance in Thane.

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