For the first time since a major internal rebellion rocked the Shiv Sena, leading to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in Maharashtra, party chief Uddhav Thackeray has said that the only mistake on his part was that he gave authority to leaders who eventually betrayed him and had monstrous ambitions.
Without naming Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who left the party along with 39 other MLAs, Thackeray – in an interview published in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ – pointed out that the rebel camp had started plotting to break the Shiv Sena and oust him from power at a time when he was hospitalised and underwent two major surgeries during which he was not even able to move or stand.
“The government is gone. The post is gone. I don’t grieve about it, but I am pained because my own people betrayed me,” Uddhav Thackeray said in a detailed interview. Comparing those who left the party to rotten leaves that a tree sheds before fresh leaves emerge, Thackeray said the people of the state are waiting for the election to teach a lesson to those who betrayed the Sena. Accusing the BJP, he said, “Their plan is to start a fight between the Shiv Sainiks, to destroy the Shiv Sena and once the work is done, then they will throw these dry leaves (rebels) in the garbage box.”
When Saamana executive editor Sanjay Raut asked him why the Sena kept getting betrayed, Thackeray said it was because they were not running the party professionally. “We have been looking at the party as a family. Balasaheb has taught us that. Ma (his late mother Meenatai Thackeray) taught us that when we say that someone is our own, then they become our own people and perhaps that is a crime or mistake in politics that we often make. That is, when we trust someone, we blindly trust them. We give them everything, be it responsibilities or power… We do that, but now those whom we trusted have betrayed us, ” he said.
Asked whether he had made a mistake by becoming the chief minister himself, Thackeray said, “There are two things. Suppose he (Shinde) was made chief minister at that time (2019). He would have done something else. Because his hunger is not getting satisfied… He wants the post of chief minister and now also wants to become Shiv Sena chief? Have you started comparing yourself with the Shiv Sena chief? This is monstrous ambition. This is called being insatiable.”
Uddhav Thackeray also slammed the Shinde faction for attempting to use the late Balasaheb Thackeray’s name and asked them not to seek votes using his father’s image. “Use your own father’s image and ask for votes,” he said. “Those whose parents are fortunately with them should work with the blessings of their parents. Why are you stealing my father? That means you do not have anything to show of your own, you do not have courage. You are not men. You are a traitor. Why create confusion about Balasaheb while betraying people,” Thackeray asked.
“They are trying to appropriate Balasaheb Thackeray as they did with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Subhas Chandra Bose and use it. They do not have their own idols, so they are stealing the idols of others and asking for votes in their name,” Thackeray said.
When asked whether the MVA alliance had failed, Thackeray replied that if that was the case, the people would have revolted against the government.