As the Shiv-Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra cleared the floor test with a majority of 164 votes in the 288-member House, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said development and Hindutva are on the new regime’s agenda.
Speaking in the Assembly, Shinde broke down remembering the period after the 2019 state elections, and said he was very disturbed at the way he was treated during the polls.
“They (the Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena) must understand why such a big incident (the rebellion) took place. They should find out the root cause of it,” he said, adding that he was ready to be a “martyr” to save the party.
Shinde alleged that the Sena faction, led by Uddhav Thackeray, attacked his house, used derogatory language against the rebel MLAs and compared them with animals while they were camping in Guwahati. “On one hand you sent people to meet me and have a dialogue (after revolt) but on the other hand, abused me and pelted stones at my house. They compared us with animals, abused us and called us ‘living corpse’,” Shinde said.
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Pointing at the problems faced because of the “unnatural” alliance between the Shiv Sena and the Congress, which formed the government under the banner of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), he said, “In the past two-and-a- half years, we faced some issues. Being in the Sena, we could not take action against those allied with Dawood Ibrahim. We could not laud Veer Savarkar, because we were with Congress.”
He said his faction has been labelled as “traitors” but they are not. “We were Shiv Sainiks, we are Shiv Sainiks and will continue to be Shiv Sainiks,” Shinde declared. “We are sainiks of late Balasaheb and Anand Dighe. Development and Hindutva are on our agenda.” He said Shiv Sainiks suffered in the MVA. “Some faced cases, some were facing FIRs. They used to come to me and cry…I used to give them funds from urban development.”
Shinde also claimed to have destroyed 16 dance bars that were “spoiling the life of the youth”. “I am the one who has vandalised 16 ladies’ bars. Hundred cases are registered against me. (However) I ensured the ladies’ bars remain shut.”
He thanked all Sena and Independent MLAs who backed him during his rebellion. “I am proud of these 50 MLAs. When we started this mission, none of them asked where are we going and how many days will it take. This is a historical moment in Maharashtra politics and, as Fadnavisji told me, 33 countries have taken note of this political development,” Shinde said.
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