Ratcheting up tensions with its ally BJP, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said in the name of protecting the cow, India had become the most unsafe country for women. He also launched a stinging attack on the government over incidents of mob lynching across the country.
“We (Shiv Sena) never said cows should be slaughtered. But while protecting cows, India has become the most unsafe country for women. One should be ashamed of it. You want to save ‘gau-mata’ (cow) but what about ‘mata’ (mother),” Thackeray said in a no-holds-barred interview to Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.
Thackeray said for over 25 years, the Shiv Sena and BJP were allies because of the shared ideology of Hindutva, the status of Hindus, national interest and the country’s security among others. “I do not accept the idea of Hindutva that is being adhered to in the country. In the name of saving the cow, if you are shifting focus to whether someone is eating beef or not, then it is a sham,” the Sena chief said.
Targetting the BJP for positioning itself as the sole protector of nationalism, Thackeray said the saffron party had no right to decide who was a nationalist and anti-national. “Anyone criticising the government does not become anti-national. Members of Parliament are representatives of people and have the right to raise questions,” he said.
One of the government’s most vocal critics who have not shied away from mincing words, Shiv Sena’s alliance with BJP has been on thin ice and the party twisted the knife after they abstained from the no-confidence vote instead of siding with its ally in Maharashtra and at the Centre. Justifying the party’s stance, Thackeray made it clear that “nobody can shoot the gun from our shoulders” and the “Sena will not fire from someone else’s shoulders either”.
Punning upon BJP’s name, Thackeray said the Sena was a friend of the Bharatiya Janata and not of any party. “We are a part of the government but if something is wrong, we will definitely talk about it. We are friends of the Bharatiya Janata, not of any party,” Thackeray said.
Thackeray said his party opposed only those decisions that appeared not to be protecting the interests of the poor. “I criticise the government if it is taking any wrong steps. I cannot take the appeasement route to woo them (BJP). The previous (UPA) regime was defeated by people and there were big expectations from this NDA government. But this government is also functioning like the previous one,” he said.