The war of words between Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Raj Thackeray in poll-bound Maharashtra has intensified with the former saying the MNS chief should act in a movie by Karan Johar and the latter calling the Congress leader "brainless".
"I condemn the personal attack against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi by Raj Thackeray. He should act in a Karan Johar movie. We will come to watch it," Chavan said, addressing an election rally at Kalyan in neighbouring Thane on Friday.
"Raj should join movies for his acting skills after he mimicked the Congress president," he said.
On his part, Raj, irked at Chavan calling him a frog recently, hurled abuses at the chief minister at the MNS rally at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai last night.
"Chavan, who calls me a mimic, is brainless," Raj said.
"In Andhra, when chief minister Y S R Reddy died, people committed suicide. Here, when the Chief Minister is alive, people commit suicide in his name."
The better part of Raj's speech was spent on attacking Congress and not his former party Shiv Sena, led by estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray.
On Chavan's comment that he was like a frog that surfaced only during the monsoon, Raj said the chief minister had "swollen like a frog doing nothing".
MNS is contesting 143 of the total 288 Assembly seats in the state. Congress is contesting 174 seats under a complete seat sharing arrangement with NCP.
Raj also targeted Chavan's rival in Congress and his predecessor, Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
"Deshmukh was chief minister for eight years. Now we have Ashok Chavan. Only the hairstyle has changed, nothing else."
Alleging that chief mnisters were not committed to Maharashtra's development, Raj cited the example of how auto giant BMW's manufacturing plant went to Tamil Nadu.
"When BMW people came here, our chief minister did not have the time to meet them and instead asked them to meet the bureaucrats," he said.
Reiterating his demand for jobs to sons-of-the-soil, Raj said industries must give 80 per cent jobs to locals if they want concessions from the government. Minority educational institutions would face attacks if they didn't admit Marathi students, he warned.
MNS candidate from suburban Mulund, Shishir Shinde, who in 1991 dug up the pitch of Wankhede Stadium in the city to prevent an India-Pakistan cricket match while he was in Shiv Sena, said he would garland Australian cricketers with 'chappals' when they are here next month.
"Our students are attacked there (in Australia). Why should we not take revenge," he said.
Raj 'agent' of Congress-NCP: Uddhav
Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray trained his guns Raj Thackeray, dubbing him as an "agent" of the ruling Congress-NCP in Maharashtra.
Addressing an election rally in Thane, Uddhav said his estranged cousin was "an agent of Congress-NCP, whose only programme is to see that Shiv Sena-BJP combine does not come to power."
Without taking his name, Uddhav termed Raj, who quit the Sena to float his own outfit in 2006, "a power broker".
Listing "failures" of the Congress-NCP, Uddhav said people hould themselves examine their performance and decide whom to ote for on October 13.
Taking a dig at Raj, the Sena leader said he was only indulging in "tamasha" (drama) "which we do not want to do".
At the meeting, MNS leader Satish Pradhan returned to the Sena fold. Pradhan was in Shiv Sena for 40 years and left the party to join NCP first and later MNS.
Two local Congress corporators - H S Patil and his wife - also joined the Shiv Sena on the occasion.