INDIA. Mumbai: The Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray said on Wednesday night that the country was heading towards a dictatorial regime under the BJP and that it was time that the people united to save democracy.
Addressing a mammoth annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park at Dadar in central Mumbai, Thackeray said that the Shiv Sena workers are being threatened by police in different parts of the state at the behest of the present Maharashtra government.
The externment orders are being served. Even the candidates contesting Gram Panchayat elections are being threatened with encounters. A minister of the government of the breakaway group led by Eknath Shinde opens fire during the Ganesh festival.
“We are keeping quiet to maintain peace. If the same trend continues, the situation could aggravate,” he said.
The BJP is out to “finish” the Shiv Sena. Union Home Minister Amit Shah visits Mumbai and exhorts the party workers to decimate the Shiv Sena. “We are already on the ground. But is Shah a Home Minister or a Domestic Minister? Does his job involve toppling the government? He can show the courage to recapture Pak-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and stop border skirmishes in Ladakh. It’s been well over 7 years that the BJP has been in power in the center; the situation remains unchanged. If Shah is able to get back the POK, we will honour him.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over the reins of the country in 2014. Today, the Indian rupee has devalued up to Rs. 80 against the dollar. The late BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had once said that if the rupee is devalued, the country’s creditworthiness is in question.
“We are being accused of giving up Hindutva. Then who paid respect to Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s memorial in Pakistan? Who participated in Nawaz Sharif’s birthday celebration in Pakistan? “Who joined hands with Mehbooba Mufti to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir?” Thackeray asked, adding that no one should teach us Hindutva.
“Some time back, Mohan Bhagwat, the Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), visited a mosque. Does this imply that he abandoned Hinduism? Religion should be kept at home. Hindutva is nationalism. If anyone wants to debate on Hindutva, they should come on a common platform, and we are ready to join,” Thackeray said.
“A resort in Uttarakhand where 19-year-old Ankita Bhandari was recently killed is owned by a BJP leader. In the resort, there was a flesh trade going on. Ankita’s mother has demanded that the accused be hanged. Similarly, the convicted rapists of Bilkis Bano in Gujarat were released under the remission policy and later felicitated upon their release. Is this a Hindu culture?” Thackeray asked.
“When the daughter-in-law of the Subhedar of Kalyan (near Thane) was presented to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as a part of the victory spoils, he did all the honours and respectfully sent her back,” Thackeray reminded the audience.
He slammed the rebel group led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, claiming allegiance to Shiv Sena patriarch late Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology, and said that all of these people are “duplicates” and should be referred to as traitors.
“Like child-lifters, they claim somebody’s father as their own. The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has taken shape since the BJP backstabbed us in 2019. There was a perfect coordination between the Shiv Sena, Congress, and NCP in the erstwhile MVA government. Everyone approved the proposals to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar and Dharashiv as Osmanabad. No religion got in the way of the renaming. The MVA government waived farmers’ loans and initiated several welfare measures. As against this, now there is an avalanche of announcements by the Shinde Government, without implementation.”
“You have exhibited your support by coming here in massive numbers. Because of disagreements, it’s now like walking on amber. If we can tide over this, Maharashtra will again see the Shiv Sena CM,” Thackeray said.
Shiv Sena MPs Vinayak Raut, Arvind Sawant, and Anil Desai were present, as was Maharashtra Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson Dr Nilam Gorhe, MLAs Bhaskar Jadhav and Aditya Thackeray, Woman Leader Sushma Andhare, and other senior leaders.
Shinde claims Balasaheb’s ideology
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who addressed the rally at BKC Ground in North West Mumbai, said that his group of 40 odd MLAs and 12 MPs did not rebel, but it was an uprising since Uddhav Thackeray had thrown Balasaheb’s ideology to the wind and the NCP was prospering at the cost of the Shiv Sena. “In fact, the remote control was in NCP’s hand,” he added.
“The Shiv Sena, which contested the 2019 Assembly elections in alliance with the BJP, backtracked and joined hands with the NCP and Congress. A minister in the MVA government was an MLA (NCP0) who supported the 1993 Mumbai bombings and accused Yakub Memon. Why couldn’t Thackeray stop his induction into the ministry? Earlier, Uddhav’s cousins Raj Thackeray and Narayan Rane left the party. “Does this mean that all others were wrong and Uddhav alone is right?” Shinde asked.
Shine stated that the Shiv Sena is not a private limited company and that everyone is carrying on Balasaheb’s legacy.
“The Sena patriarch wanted Article 370, which gave special status to Kashmir, to be scrapped. He wanted a Ram temple to be constructed in Ayodhya. All these things were pursued as a finality by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Thackeray did not utter a single word about the recent ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) for its involvement in militancy. Is it because of Congress?” Shinde asked. He also ridiculed the demand by an NCP leader to ban the RSS.
Vedanta Foxconn’s semi-conductor project went out of Maharashtra since the MVA government asked for kickbacks, Shinde alleged, and he added that the group was not aware of the impending change in government.
On the occasion, Uddhav’s brother Jaidev, Jaidev’s estranged wife Smita Thackeray, Nihar Thackeray, the son of Uddhav’s late brother, Bindumadhav, and the sister of Thane Shiv Sena leader late Anand Dighe, Marathi actors Sharad Pnkshe and Prasad Oak, as well as Marathi actors Sharad Pnkshe and Prasad Oak, pledge in his brief address, Jaidev suggested that the present government should be wound up and fresh elections be held.
However, Shinde’s speech appeared lackluster since he began his speech late and most of the people were seen leaving the venue even while his speech was on.