Addressing the annual Dussehra rally at the iconic Shivaji Park ground in Mumbai, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Wednesday called his successor Eknath Shinde and his supporters “traitors” and insisted that this stamp will remain forever.
“As time changes, Ravan’s face also changes. Today, it is the traitors (who are Ravan). When I was unwell and underwent a surgery, I had given the responsibility to him (Shinde). But he conspired against me thinking I will never stand up on my feet again,” Shiv Sena president Thackeray said while lashing out at Shinde, whose rebellion in June brought down the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state.
Thackeray said that the Shiv Sena does not belong to one person but to all loyal Sena workers. He added, “If you feel I should not remain the Sena president, I will quit. There is a limit to lust for power. After the act of treachery, he (Shinde) now wants the party, its symbol and also wants to be called the party president.”
Last month, the Supreme Court had rejected the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena’s prayer to stay proceedings pending before the Election Commission of India over a request by CM Shinde for recognition of his faction as the real Shiv Sena and permission to use the party’s ‘bow and arrow’ election symbol.
The former chief minister further went to say that he formed a post-poll alliance with Congress and Nationalist Congress Party to teach the BJP a lesson for breaking its promises. “I swear on my parents that it had been decided that the BJP and Shiv Sena will share the chief minister’s post for two and a half years,” Thackeray said.
Thackeray also said he did not need lessons on Hindutva from the BJP. “BJP leaders visited (then Pakistan prime minister) Nawaz Sharif on his birthday without invitation and bowed before Jinnah’s grave,” he said.
Concluding his speech, Thackeray sought the support and strength from Sena cadre, saying the party will bounce back.
“Today I have nothing. But with your support the Shiv Sena will rise again. I will make a Shiv Sena worker chief minister again. We have to defeat the traitors in every election,” he said.
Our rebellion was not act of ‘betrayal’, but ‘revolt’ : CM Shinde
Maharashtra CM Shinde, meanwhile, asserted his rebellion was not an act of “betrayal”, but a “revolt” and asked Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to kneel down at party founder Bal Thackeray’s memorial and apologise for going against his ideals and aligning with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Addressing a mega rally at the Bandra Kurla Complex’s MMRDA ground on the occasion of Dussehra, Shinde said voters in the state elected the Shiv Sena and the BJP in the 2019 Assembly elections, but Thackeray “betrayed” people by joining hands with the Congress and the NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
The rally was attended by Jaidev Thackeray, brother of Uddhav Thackeray, and his estranged wife Smita Thackeray. Nihar Thackeray, grandson of late Bal Thackeray, also attended the rally besides Champa Singh Thapa, a long-time personal aide of the Sena founder.
(With inputs from PTI)