THE BJP-SENA alliance on Friday held its first joint Lok Sabha election rally at Amravati, calling workers to bury the hatchet and work together to keep alive the reign of Hindutva in the country.
The rally was attended by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. All alliance MPs from western Vidarbha — Bhavana Gawli (Yavatmal-Washim), Prataprao Jadhav (Buldana), Krupal Tumane (Ramtek) and Anandrao Adsul (Amravati) of the Sena and Sanjay Dhotre (Akola) of the BJP — were present.
The two parties made it clear they will fight the elections on Hindutva plank. “We are proud of being the Hindutva torch-bearer,” said Fadnavis. Thackeray added: “I recognise all saffron to be one.”
Thackeray, who had all along been critical of the BJP-led government at the Centre and the state, justified the alliance saying, “Who should we have gone with? Those with whom we fought for 50 years or those we had fought with for five years?”
While praising the various schemes launched by the Narendra Modi government as excellent, he added: “Our struggle was for their proper implementation.”
“Nobody should do treachery (in elections). We have to see to it that we install a government committed to Hindutva at the Centre,” said Thackeray while describing the BJP-Sena alliance as the “last hope for millions of poor Indians”.
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said: “When he became the PM, I thought as if my elder brother had become PM.”
The Sena chief indicated that the party will nominate its four MPs in the polls. “The CM has already referred to them as our nominee. This is called a real alliance.”
Addressing the rally, Fadnavis said, “The Opposition has become nervous due to our alliance. This alliance is not for power. It is for the betterment of the nation. We are proud of Hindutva. And to keep it going, we will try to help each other. Our win at 42 seats last time wasn’t our record. We have to set a record now by winning all 48 seats. We will turn the entire state saffron.”
Fadnavis also claimed that the kind of development that the state and central governments have achieved had inspired confidence among the common people. Referring to post-Pulwama air strikes in Pakistan, the CM said: “Our armed forces were always brave but the same can’t be said of the earlier governments. But after Balakot, people have realised what it means to have someone like Modiji at the helm.”
Attending another rally at Nagpur in the evening, the two leaders reiterated the points made at Amravati.
“If power goes into the hands of those demanding proof of surgical strike, then they would refer to Aurangzeb and General Dyer with the honorific ‘ji’,” said Fadnavis. He claimed that the kind of work his government had done in five years, could not be done by Congress in 50 years. Fadnavis also took on NCP chief Sharad Pawar, describing him as a “non-playing captain”.
Union Minister and Nagpur MP Nitin Gadkari was also present at the rally.