Emergency is "quietly approaching", Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said in an apparent dig at the ruling BJP.
The Sena is an ally of the BJP in the Maharashtra and Union governments but the two saffron allies have continually engaged in a war of words on several state and national issues. Thackeray was speaking to reporters on Tuesday after attending two functions in the city.
Responding to a query, Thackeray said journalists should not shy away from using harsh words while criticising, adding that if the intention of such criticism was pure, it was not an issue. "However, Emergency is quietly approaching today. Should we be silent," Thackeray asked.
In a swipe at the BJP, Thackeray said the Babri demolition case was reopened during Presidential elections and now the Ram temple issue is being raised before the Lok Sabha polls.
While Thackeray did not name anybody, he was apparently referring to senior BJP leader LK Advani who was widely tipped as a front-runner for the post of President in July 2017 before a Supreme Court ruling in April that year on the Babri masjid demolition case effectively ruled him out of the race.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had said Advani, along with Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, would be prosecuted for serious offence of criminal conspiracy in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case and had ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years, that is by April 19, 2019.
Thackeray also said on Tuesday that he would visit Ayodhya on November 25 but he had not yet decided if he would hold a rally there.
In a bid to intensify his party's campaign for the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Thackeray has given a new slogan — "pehle mandir, fir sarkaar". "Everybody has to come together to construct Ram temple. I have nothing to say to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) now. I will decide whether to hold a rally (in Ayodhya) or not," Thackeray said.
The VHP, on November 10, had announced that it would hold a rally on November 25 in Ayodhya to press for the construction of the Ram temple.