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'Balasaheb would be happy to see Uddhav become CM'

By PRASANNA D ZORE
November 28, 2019 11:58 IST

'His son fought bravely like a true Shiv Sainik and emerged victorious against those whose machinations were to finish the Shiv Sena in the state.'

IMAGE: Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray pays tribute to his late father Bal Thackeray in the latter's room at the family residence, Matoshree, in Bandra East, north west Mumbai. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shiv Sena/Twitter
 

Uddhav Bal Thackeray will be sworn in as Maharashtra chief minister at Mumbai's iconic Shivaji Park on Thursday, November 28, evening.

Manohar Gajanan Joshi, the Shiv Sena's first chief minister also took the oath of office at the same venue and ruled the state from March 14, 1995 to January 30, 1999. He was very close to party founder Balasaheb Thackeray and has seen Uddhav grow up as a child and emerge a staunch Shiv Sainik.

"The people of the state have huge expectations from him. As a Shiv Sainik I can assure you that Uddhavji will not let down the people of Maharashtra," Joshi tells Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore.

On Uddhav taking oath as chief minister

It is a historic day for Maharashtra, Shiv Sena, and every Shiv Sainik.

As I see it, Maharashtra will see an honest, efficient and hard-working human being as their chief minister for the next five years.

The people of the state have huge expectations from him. As a Shiv Sainik I can assure you that Uddhavji will not let down the people of Maharashtra.

This is a man who will work sincerely to preserve the sanctity of Maharashtra, India and Hindutva and work for the progress of each and every Maharashtrian irrespective of caste, religion or region.

IMAGE: March 14, 1995, then chief minister Manohar Joshi of the Shiv Sena, right, and then deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde of the Bharatiya Janata Party greet supporters after being sworn in at Mumbai's Shivaji Park. Photograph: Savita Kirloskar/Reuters

On his own oath-taking ceremony in 1995

My swearing-in ceremony also took place at Shiv Tirth (as Shiv Sainiks refer to Shivaji Park). It wasn't a public event. Only our workers were present and it was a moving ceremony that brought tears to lots of eyes. There were moist eyes everywhere. They were tears of joy.

It was already known that I will be becoming Maharashtra CM. The reason for that being the relationship between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena were very cordial and trustworthy.

I was the CM for four years and worked for the betterment of the state.

On that day I remembered my past. The moments just went fleeting by.

The feeling that just a Class 12 pass student who, at times, did not have enough to eat before he went to college, that such a boy would one day become CM of a progressive state like Maharashtra, happened only because of the blessings of Balasaheb Thackeray and that made my eyes moist as I took the oath of office at Shiv Tirth in 1995.

Balasaheb, who we consider our aaradhya daivat (god) was more of a social worker than a politician. He was extremely happy to see me take the oath as CM of a party that he built overcoming numerous challenges and for which he inspired every Shiv Sainik in Maharashtra.

He was happiest because the Shiv Sena had unfurled the bhagwa (the party's saffron flag) on the Vidhan Sabha.

Even today my eyes are moist with the thought that the parties whom we politically opposed for so many years are the one who have stood solidly behind us when we were ditched by friends with whom once we were inseparable.

You must remember that caste plays a very crucial role in your success in politics (the Maratha community always had an upper hand in the power structure in Maharashtra). Only and only Balasaheb had the guts to override such caste equations in Maharashtra and make a person like me (a Brahmin) as the state's CM.

If Balasaheb Thackeray were alive today

He would have been the happiest man on earth.

Despite the odds, his son fought bravely like a true Shiv Sainik and emerged victorious against those who didn't fulfill the promises they had made, whose machinations were to finish the Shiv Sena in the state.

He would have been happy to see Uddhavji represent the most essential characteristic of a Shiv Sainik: Always lead the fight for truth and fear nobody.

After 19 years, the Shiv Sena has once again bagged the post of CM and that would have made Balasaheb very happy, just like it is making all of us happy.

Every Shiv Sainik will feel the presence of Balasaheb today on the stage bestowing his blessings on his son as he takes the constitutional oath to become this great state's CM. He would be very content to see his son become the CM and bless him from the heavens.

We all will be looking skywards and seek his blessings to help us achieve Maharashtra's overall progress in the next five years.

What should people of Maharashtra expect from their new CM

To be honest, it is always challenging to work in a democratic set-up. But the way Uddhavji overcame the challenges that came his way after the demise of his late father should give the people of Maharashtra confidence that this man will be undaunted and fearless while facing the challenges of the high office.

Words of advice from a former CM to the next CM

The way Uddhavji has handled a party like the Shiv Sena since 2003, it won't be difficult for him to handle the state legislature.

One must remember that democracy makes you humbler by the way it poses sometimes unsurmountable challenges before you that require lot of craft and tact to emerge successful.

I am very confident that Uddhavji will balance the pulls and pushes of democracy in a very honest and transparent manner. I wish him my best.

Uddhavji is a keen observer of human beings and loves to read books, and he reads people's minds naturally. This gives me confidence that by the end of 2024 he would have emerged as one of the best CMs the state has seen.

Every Shiv Sainik will ardently support him in his efforts.

The post of CM is a constitutional post and belongs to the entire state and not just one political party.

PRASANNA D ZORE / Rediff.com in Mumbai
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