Making his first public appearance after a spine surgery in November last year, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray launched a blistering attack on the BJP stating that the Sena had “wasted 25 years because of its political alliance” with the party.
Addressing his party cadre on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, the CM also directed his party cadre to take a leaf out of alliance partners NCP and Congress’s books and build institutions in the cooperative sector at the local level.
Taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been constantly attacking him due to his absence from office after his surgery, Thackeray said, “Soon, I will step out and tour Maharashtra. I will show the power of Saffron to the opponents who are worried about my health. Like there is a caretaker government, they are caretaker opposition, and they will self-destruct.”
Reiterating an earlier statement that the Sena has wasted 25 years in the alliance with the BJP, Thackeray said, “I still maintain that. Why did we step aside from them? Today, the hollow Hindutva they display is nothing but a charade for power. It is unfortunate that we nurtured them for 25 years.”
“(Union Home Minister) Amit Shah came to Pune and challenged us to contest alone. We have accepted that challenge in the Dussehra rally. If you have the courage, contest on strength of workers. Merely challenging us and putting ED (Enforcement Directorate) and other agencies behind us is not courage,” he added.
He further said that BJP believed in ‘use-and-throw’ policy. “We will not give up Hindutva. We have broken our alliance with the BJP but not with Hindutva. BJP is not Hindutva. But Balasaheb told the BJP, you take care of the country, we take care of Maharashtra. But they are the ones who betrayed us and were trying to wipe us out. We fed them for so many years and after they won, they have adopted use-and-throw policy,” Thackeray said.
Continuing with his attack on the BJP over Hindutva, Thackeray said, “Creating an environment of slavery like the Britishers is not Hindutva. True Hindus will never allow it to happen. If we sit quite today, then the situation is that slavery will come back again. Those who were against the Emergency are creating Emergency-like environment in the country. To break this, the Shiv Sainiks must come forward.” He also asked the Sena cadre to work to spread the party across the state and take every election seriously.
“In the recently held local bodies’ polls, if we look at the number of seats, we are at number four. But we have got more seats than what we won when we were in alliance (with BJP). We are not contesting these elections as seriously as we contest the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Do our leaders, ministers, district chiefs pay attention to these elections like the BJP, the NCP and the Congress? The senior leaders come down to campaign for their candidates (opposition and alliance partners). This does not happen in our party. No leader, including me, pay attention to these. But it should be avoided from now on. There are no traitors but definitely, it is being neglected,” said Thackeray.
The Sena chief further asked all Shiv Sainiks to work to win each and every election. “From now on, in every election, be it for a bank, the local bodies or any other elections… all have to be fought to win. This should be our purpose,” he added. In the recently held elections to 106 Nagar Panchayats, BJP emerged as the single largest party by winning 419 out of 1,791 seats, followed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with 381 seats. Congress has come third by winning 344 seats and Shiv Sena fourth by winning 296 seats.
Thackeray’s directions to the party workers assume significance with election to 14 municipal corporations and 26 Zilla Parishads due to be held next month. The Sena chief also asked party workers to get a foothold in the cooperative sector, which has been dominated by the Congress-NCP, and partly by the BJP. “The work should be carried out through institutions in the villages, districts and talukas. What are you doing in the Cooperative sector? What are we doing to create new organisations? Why don’t you do institutional work? The power should be used for the works having a far-reaching impact. We have to seize this golden opportunity (Sena leading the MVA government) now,” said Thackeray.
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