Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday launched a frontal attack on the rebel group led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, declaring them as ‘traitors and vowed that a Shiv Sainik will return to power soon.
Addressing the party’s signature annual Dussehra rally at the Shivaji Park before a mammoth crowd, the ex-Chief Minister said that on Dussehra, the tradition is to burn an effigy of the 10-headed demon king Ravana.
“But this year, the Ravana is different, with 50 mouths… We have a ‘dhokhasur’ (traitor), ‘khokhasur’, (slang for crores of rupees), a ‘katappa’… Your ministerial posts may go away, but the blot of ‘traitor’ will remain permanently on your faces, it can never be erased,” Thackeray said, targetting Shinde, who had rebelled to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in June.
He also slammed Shinde for ignoring late Thane Shiv Sena leader Anand Dighe for 20 years, and now suddenly resurrecting him for their political gains.
Thacekray accused the Shinde government and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP of threatening Shiv Sainiks right up to the village level elections, forcing them to join their group, or ‘face cases’, but said that Balasaheb Thackeray’s Sainiks will not tolerate any injustice done to them.
During his speech, punctuated with several cheers and roars from the crowd, Thackeray said soon this (Shinde-Fadnavis) regime would complete 100 days in power, of which “90 days were spent in Delhi”, referring to the CM’s frequent trips to the national capital.
Urging Shiv Sainiks to have faith in Balasaheb’s Sena, repose confidence in him, and prepare to vanquish the traitors in every elections, Thackeray vowed that the party will rise again and a Sainik will again become the state CM, praising the crowd that had come ‘voluntarily’ and not ‘paid’ to come.
Training guns on the BJP and its central leaders, he referred to J.P. Nadda’s recent statement on how all Opposition parties are decaying and warned that the country is veering towards a single-party autocracy, a dictatorship with a return to slavery.
Reiterating the understanding with Amit Shah (post-2019 Assembly elections), Thackeray said that “the BJP backstabbed us, so I formed the MVA to teach them a lesson”, but added that he had left only the BJP, not the Hindutva propounded by Balasaheb, as alleged by the saffron camp, and asked, “Why didn’t these traitors raise their voice then?”
Referring to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s recent visit to a mosque in Delhi where the Muslim community leaders referred to him as ‘Rashtra Pita’, Thackeray asked whether he had left Hindutva.
He also used the occasion to ‘publicly praise’ the recent concerns on poverty and unemployment raised by RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale, but questioned Bhagwat on issues like the release and felicitation of the rapists of Gujarat riots victim Bilkis Bano or the murder of a young girl in a resort owned by a BJP leader in Uttarakhand.
He also took jibes at Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the ‘uninvited trip to eat cake with Nawaz Sharif’ (ex-PM of Pakistan), at Shah for keeping busy devising strategies to unseat opposition-ruled state governments and dared the BJP to get back the Indian territories usurped by Pakistan and China, among other issues.
Thanking the crowd for turning up in large numbers, Thackeray bowed in acknowledgement, and assured that with people’s support, he would conquer ‘Mahishasura’ and bring a Sainik back as the CM soon.