INDIA. Mumbai: The Shiv Sena party chief, Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray, on late Sunday evening lambasted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his repeated criticism of veteran freedom fighter Veer Savarkar, saying that he should not make such controversial statements.
Addressing a mammoth party rally at MSG college ground in Malegaon in Nashik district in north Maharashtra, Thackeray said that now it is time for all opposition parties to unite to fight a dictatorship to save democracy, and Gandhi should not side-track the main issue by raking up unwanted controversies.
“Freedom fighter Savarkar is our deity and we will not tolerate his insult. He languished in jail for 14 years in the most inhuman condition. It is not anybody’s cup of tea to serve such rigorous imprisonment courageously. As such Gandhi should desist from criticising him saying he sought reprieve to escape punishment. We were with Rahul Gandhi in Bharat Jodo Yatra, as it is a fight for democracy, we are still with him today, but we will not tolerate the insult of Savarkar,” Thackeray said.
“Today the judiciary is tied to its stake. Remember that when the central palanquin bearers sit in the Judiciary, we have to pay homage to democracy. If dictators win again in the upcoming 2024 elections, there will be no re-election and democracy will be over. My fight is not to become Chief Minister but to preserve democracy, so you all need to work together. And we will have to continue to fight till we win,” he added.
Thackeray said that the Union Government is keeping mum on a Rs 20,000 crore Adani scam exposed by Hindenburg.
“Rahul Gandhi is being intentionally targeted to break the opposition’s unity. The central investigating agencies grilled the granddaughter of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. Similarly, they grilled the daughter-in-law of Lalu Prasad Yadav till she fainted. The rules are flouted with impunity. It is justice to those favoured and injustice to those who oppose them,” he added.
In his speech, Thackeray targeted the leaders of the Shinde faction and the BJP. “The traitors stole the Shiv Sena party name and symbol. But can you steal people’s hearts? The traitors will not be fired by Shiva’s bow, they will fall like Ravana with bow and arrow,” he added.
The Election Commission has become a worm. If the Election Commission wants to decide who Shiv Sena belongs to, then look at today’s meeting and make a decision. The Election Commission will realize to whom Shiv Sena belongs. “Today I don’t have anything in hand. Yet you have assembled here in such massive strength. This is nothing else but blessings of forefathers.”
Referring to BJP state president Bawankule’s recent statement that the Shinde faction will be given 48 seats in the next Assembly elections and the remaining 240 seats will be contested by the BJP, Thackeray said that allot as many seats to the Shinde faction. But declare that the next elections will be contested under Shinde’s leadership. “You appeal to voters in the name of Narendra Modi, and I will contest in the name of Balasaheb Thackeray”.
Thackeray said that the recent agitation by onion growers was a protest against the government’s failure to stop the prices of onions from falling because of rising temperatures that caused farmers to bring their late Kharif crop to market and poor export. He also criticised Agriculture Minister Abdul Sattar for carrying out surveys of the crop damaged in recent unseasonal rains at night using a mobile phone battery.