MUMBAI: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take the defence ministry "seriously" as the country is "staring at a war with China" and facing terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
"The environment in the country today is such that on one hand we are staring at a war with China and on the other, infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan does not stop,"
Thackeray told reporters here.
"The prime minister should take a stand... the defence ministry should be taken seriously and cannot be played with," he said.
Thackeray, whose party is a constituent of the Modi government, was apparently referring to the fact that there is no full-time defence minister as the charge is with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The defence portfolio was with Manohar Parrikar before he moved to Goa as the chief minister in March.
"The Goa chief minister is going to contest a byelection.
Yesterday, I read his statement that if he loses, he will once again take up defence ministry. If the ministry is being treated lightly, anarchy will prevail across the country," he said.
"Whether he (Parrikar) wins or loses is immaterial,"
Thackeray said, asking the prime minister to take the defence ministry "seriously".
Taking a dig at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, he said, "While Fadnavis feels that there will be lawlessness if the government gives a complete loan waiver, in reality, if a losing chief minister (referring to Parrikar) goes to Delhi, there will be anarchy across the country."
The Sena supremo further demanded that the government reveals the names of all farmers, who benefitted from the government's loan waiver scheme.
"The government, in its enthusiasm, may declare more names of farmers being benefitted than total population of the state. Just so that this does not happen, the names of all beneficiaries should be declared in the legislative assembly," he said.
He added that Shivsainiks will personally visit those farmers and verify the government's claims.
Earlier, Sena MP Sanjay Raut slammed Parrikar and said it seemed that the Goa chief minister was afraid of losing the polls and people may reject him.
"This is a democracy. If your people do not choose you and you lose, then go and sit at your home. You say, I will go to the Centre and be the defence minister again after losing.
Is the defence ministry of the country a game?" he questioned.
He pointed out that there is no full-time defence minister in the country.
Parrikar had resigned as the defence minister after the Goa assembly polls and was sworn in as the chief minister on March 14.