Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi was forced to leave the dais by angry workers at the annual party Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in Dadar Sunday. This is a first such incident in the 47-year history of the Sena.
Joshi is a former chief minister of Maharashtra who also served as the Lok Sabha Speaker.
Sena workers were angry after he twice publicly criticised the style of functioning of party president Uddhav Thackeray last month,only to apologise later.
Joshi and Uddhav have had an uneasy relationship. The former CM wants to contest the Mumbai South-Central Lok Sabha seat and feels the Sena president is promoting others.
Asserting his authority,Uddhav said,I will remain the Shiv Sena president as long as party workers want. If they ask me to step down this moment,I will. Arm-twisting will not work.
There was a question mark on the presence of Joshi at the rally and when he arrived,he broke the party protocol as Uddhav was already on stage by then.
Joshi,who has not been keeping well of late,slowly walked towards Uddhav and bowed with his hands folded. Uddhav shook his hands but as he tried to take his seat slogans of Joshi hai-hai…,go away,go away… rented the air.
Members of the Thackeray family tried to calm the agitated workers,with Rashmi and Aditya,wife and son of Uddhav,pleading to behave but the efforts appeared half-hearted.
Aditya was stopped by Uddhav from leaving the stage to pacify the Sainiks. Finally,another senior leader Liladhar Dhake escorted Joshi off the dais. The two were seen having an animated talk standing on the edge of the stage before Joshi finally left.
He later said: I do not think party workers have ever misbehaved with me. Do not pit them against me.