In a first war of words between former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and current CM Eknath Shinde since the rebellion in Shiv Sena broke out on June 21, the Sena president on Tuesday took a jibe at Shinde’s speech in the Assembly, calling him an auto driver “whose brakes failed as it was running too fast”. Hitting back, Shinde said that his was a government of common man and that “the speed of auto has left Mercedes behind”.
Addressing a meeting of Shiv Sena women’s wing at Sena Bhawan on Tuesday, Thackeray indirectly referred to the rebel MLAs, including Shinde, as traitors and took a jibe at the latter, who used to work as an auto rickshaw driver in the past. “The Assembly speech on Monday made it clear as to when the conspiracy (of rebellion) had started. The deputy CM (Devendra Fadnavis) was telling him (Shinde) to stop … but the brakes of the vehicle had failed, how will it stop? Earlier they (BJP) used to call the MVA government as three-wheeler government, now the one who drives a three-wheeler is running the government…,” Thackeray said.
Replying to Uddhav’s jibe, Shinde took to Twitter and wrote: “Auto’s speed was so fast that Mercedes was left behind as this is the government of common man.” Notably, Thackeray has often been seen driving a Mercedes.
Terming the rebels as back-stabbers, Thackeray said, “The ones who were given the reins of the party (Shinde) were the ones who stabbed it in the back. This is the most embarrassing and shameful thing.”
On the other hand, Thackeray praised the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress stating that “those who were against us for 30 years were standing with the party”.
Referring to the rebellion, Thackeray reiterated that the real plan was to finish off the Sena. “The plan is to make Shiv Sainiks fight with each other. They are not only aiming to break Shiv Sena, but they want to finish it off and this bearded man (Eknath Shinde) is the face they have put forth to fight. Even he (Shinde) doesn’t know that he is also throttled and is under their control. Yesterday, his mic was snatched (by deputy CM during a press conference). He won’t even know what else will be snatched from him in the future,” Thackeray said at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Sena’s Member of Parliament from South Central Mumbai Rahul Shewale on Tuesday met Thackeray and handed over a letter demanding that the party support NDA Presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu. In the letter, Shewale gave past examples when the party had extended its support to Pratibha Patil to ensure that a woman bagged the top post in the country for the first time.