INDIA. Mumbai: On Wednesday night, the Shiv Sena Party Chief Uddhav Thackeray challenged the BJP to hold BMC and assembly elections within a month to gauge whether the people support rebels or support the people-oriented Shiv Sena.
Addressing the office bearers meeting, after a group of Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde (now Maharashtra CM) defected and formed the Maharashtra Government with BJP support in June last, Uddhav Thackeray criticized the BJP for misusing central agencies to topple the Governments.
“I challenge Union Home Minister Amit Shah to hold the BMC and Assembly elections within a month. The Shiv Sena is brave and is used to accepting such challenges. We will fight courageously. We don’t bother about small bubbles”, Uddhav Thackeray thundered.
In a meeting with a sizable presence of party workers and office bearers at NESCO ground at Goregaon East in North Mumbai, Thackeray said “the BJP was troubling the leaders of opposition parties by misusing the central agencies and then luring them into its fold. But what happens after the leader’s defect to BJP? Do they become clean automatically? What happens to the charges levelled against them earlier? In that case, is BJP a laundry where dirty linens are cleaned? “Thackeray asked.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Mumbai soon, followed by other Central ministers and leaders. This itself shows how scared the BJP is of Shiv Sena and how greedy it is to usurp the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“The attempts are being made to “finish” the Thackeray family. Now the Central leaders will come, and the people like “Munnabhai” (a veiled reference to his cousin Raj Thackeray, the MNS Chief) will try to assist them. Any attempt to take on the Shiv Sena will be met with full force because the Shiv Sena is not a cockroach. But if the blood of rival groups is shed, the BJP will eventually benefit. As such, we want to avoid such a situation”, he added.
Uddhav Thackeray recalled the dedicated efforts made by the BMC and Shiv Sainiks during the Covid-19 pandemic to relieve the people. The Shiv Sena-led BMC set up the Covid-19 hospitals equipped with all facilities within 15 days. We set up the Covid-19 treatment centres with a total capacity of 3.50 lakh beds.
In addition, a large number of vaccination centres were set up. These efforts were appreciated at the national and international levels. Against this, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) recently opined that the Central Government failed to prepare for the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As promised in its manifesto by the Shiv Sena, the BMC waived the property tax for the flats below 500 square feet area in Mumbai, introduced electric buses to prevent air pollution, introduced the concept of virtual classroom and improved the standard of BMC schools, and decided to set up a world-class aquarium at Aarey Colony in Goregaon (the proposal which the BJP-Shinde Government subsequently shelved)”.
The Shiv Sainiks is always at the forefront of rendering public service. During the 1992 communal riots in Mumbai, the Shiv Sainiks stood firmly with the people. During the 26/11 Mumbai terrorists’ attack, the Shiv Sainiks took care of NSG guards engaged in fighting the terrorists at Jewish Centre at Nariman House in South Mumbai.
This was acknowledged even by a high-ranking NSG official. Even during July 26, 2005, Mumbai deluge, the Shiv Sainiks were in the street to help those in distress. Now we are being branded as “anti-Hindu”. But the MVA Government permitted “Pandharpur Wari” (a pilgrimage to Pandharpur, the seat of Lord Vithoba) by relaxing Covid-19 norms. The MVA Government faced the worst pandemic situation ever, and it had no choice but to keep the places of worship closed.
Today all people, including Hindus, Muslims, Maharashtrians, Uttar Bharatiyas, and others, are with the Shiv Sena. Mumbai is a living breath of Shiv Sena, and no matter how much BJP tries to engineer defections, the saffron flag will flutter atop the BMC headquarters, Thackeray added.
My father, Shiv Sena Pramukh Balasaheb Thackeray, formed the Shiv Sena Sena. Thackeray said the rebels are trying to hijack him like child lifters lift the children.
He referred to the petitions filed in the Supreme Court by the rebel group led by Eknath Shinde in an attempt to hijack the Shiv Sena and said that he had full faith in the judiciary and was confident that the court would do justice.
If the decision goes against the Shiv Sena, it will be hard to repose the faith in democracy. If the Governments are formed with corrupt means by defecting MLAs and hiding them in Guwahati and other places, then why should the elections be held, and why should the people waste their time casting their votes? Thackeray questioned.
Thackeray reiterated that the party’s annual Dassera rally would be held at Shivaji Park at Dadar in Central Mumbai. However, the BMC was yet to give formal permission to hold the rally.
The Shiv Sena state heads from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh attended the meeting and pledged their continued support to the party.
The Shiv Sena leaders- Subhash Desai, MPs Vinayaj Raut and Arvind Sawant, MLAs including Aditya Thackeray, Sunil Prabhu, and Bhaskar Jadhav, Deputy Chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dr Nilam Gorhe, and others were present.