The Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday adopted a two pronged strategy extending total support to the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra but slamming the Centre’s foreign and economic policies.
In a concerted attempt to revive the Sena’s electoral fortunes by repositioning itself as champions of hard Hindutva, he exhorted the Modi
government to barge into Pakistan and give a befitting reply to the neighbours who were ruthlessly killing Indian soldiers and continued
infiltration. He said, “Let us not forget that Ram killed Ravan in Lanka. It was not in India. And if you don’t know this basic Ramayan,
then what is the point of mere Jai Shree Ram slogan?”
Ahead of the rally the big question that many asked was what message would the Sena give to the BJP? Would the BJP government in Maharashtra remain stable? Had the Sena kept its options of pulling out open?
In a message that was loud and crystal clear, Thackeray said, “There was no question of walking out of the government in Maharashtra. The alliance is doing good. Why should one walk out?” The suo moto clarification from Thackeray will go a long way in reviving the
missing chemistry between the BJP and the Sena in Maharashtra.
Secondly, by skipping any mention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, Thackeray has also indicated that they would not stretch the matter beyond a point and that criticism was confined to certain policy decisions centred on the Hindutva agenda and not on individuals.
Thirdly, Thackeray’s emphasise on its anti-Pakistan stand is also aimed at reviving the Sena’s image of hard Hindutva which has been completely hijacked by Modi.
There were plently of digs and sarcasm at the BJP though when he said, “Mandir wahi banayenge, par tarikh nahi batayenge” ( we will build the Ram temple at Ayodhya. But there is no mention of the date .)
Similarly, to those asking Sena not to mix politics with culture and sports, he said, “What should one do with Lata Mangeshkar’s “Aiye mere watan ke logon” rendered for Indian martyrs. I think the BJP should hold a Ghulam Ali concert at Red Fort next Independence Day.”
Thackeray also took the BJP to task on Dalits when he said, “You built Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills. And we have a Dalit family
burnt to death.” He slammed thr BJP for the beef ban and the Dadri killing in Uttar Pradesh. He wondered, “Why not for once declare India as a Hindu Rashtra and impose a uniform civil code? Sena will support that. But what sense does it make to visit homes and check for beef and harass people?”