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Raavan to Katappa, Penguin to Spider-Man, Kamalabai to Champa: All’s fair in BJP-Uddhav Sena war of words

The acerbic political battle ahead of the BMC polls is reflected now in the constant name-calling

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s rally at Shivaji Park. (Express photo by Ganesh Shiresekar)

Soon after the Dussehra rallies of the two Shiv Senas were over, the BJP dismissed Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting as lacklustre and boring. With Uddhav directing his attacks on the BJP, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said: “Shimgya var bolaycha nasta (or, don’t take him seriously)”.

As the political battle in Maharashtra gets more acerbic, ahead of the crucial BMC polls, the bitterness is reflected in the words that the two sides are flinging at each other.

* Raavan, Katappa: In the course of his speech at the Dussehra rally on Wednesday, Uddhav said: “This year’s Raavan was different.” In an obvious reference to Eknath Shinde, who broke away with a large chunk of the Sena to form the government with the BJP, Uddhav said: “The Raavan changes with the times. Till now, Raavan was 10-headed. Now how many heads does it have… rather how many khokas (crores)… He is a demon of 50 khokas… He is Katappa (the Baahubali character who stabbed his own king).”

In his speech that started soon after Uddhav wrapped up his, at a separate rally held by the Sena faction headed by him, Shinde said: “Even Katappa was self-respecting and not a two-faced politician like you.”

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* Penguin Sena: The BJP’s description for the Uddhav-led Shiv Sena faction. The allusion is to the import of eight Humboldt penguins from South Korea for the Byculla Zoo during the MVA government, which was a pet project of Uddhav’s son and former minister Aaditya Thackeray. Both BJP and Congress leaders in the BMC had objected to the kind of expenditure envisaged for the upkeep of the penguins, the zoo’s first-ever.

Earlier, the BJP referred to the young Thackeray scion Aaditya as ‘Baby Penguin’, much to the Sena’s chagrin.

* Kamalabai: Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray was known to refer to then ally BJP thus in private, a jibe at its symbol of lotus. The word also popped up occasionally during Sena rallies when the ties between the allies were going through a rough patch. After he walked out of the NDA and into the MVA in the days following the 2019 Assembly polls results, Uddhav took to using the term for the BJP in public.

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* Gaddar: The Uddhav Sena’s term for Eknath Shinde, for having split the party to form the government with the BJP. Whether public rallies or party mouthpiece Saamna, the Sena never forgets to use the expression at every reference to Shinde.

* Spider-Man: This was the reaction of Congress president Nana Patole, when Devendra Fadnavis was appointed in-charge of six districts in Vidarbha as Guardian Minister. (There has been much heartburn in BJP and Shinde Sena ranks over the allotment of these Guardian Minister posts between them.) “Fadnavis must be Spider-Man… who can do anything and everything. Nothing is impossible,” Patole quipped.

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule countered that not just six, Fadnavis could manage eight districts. “He (Patole) does not know about Fadnavis’s ability… He does not have any private businesses, factories, societies or banks. He works 18 hours a day,” Bawankule said.

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* Champa: The description used by senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal for senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil. When questioned, Bhujbal said this was how Patil was “lovingly” called by some. Later, NCP leader Ajit Pawar repeated the reference at a function. An upset Patil raised the issue at an internal BJP meeting, exhorting party leaders and workers not to take things lightly. “We have to hit back. How can they call me Champa?” Patil stated.

* Maida Cha Pota (Sack of wheat flour): The late Bal Thackeray, never one to care for political niceties, had coined this term for NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the early 1990s.

Thackeray also had a term for Chhagan Bhujbal, “Lakhoba”, a reference to a negative character in a popular Marathi play, Tau Me Navech (I am not that). In turn, Bhujbal, who had by then quit the Sena, started calling Thackeray “T Balu”. Such irreverent reference to the Sena chief, who was at the height of his might at the time and called ‘Balasaheb’ by one and all, was then unthinkable.

First published on: 06-10-2022 at 03:25:29 pm
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