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On Sena foundation day, Uddhav, Shinde spar over Hindutva, 'real' Sena

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: June 20, 2024 00:50 IST
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Fresh from their bruising battle in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra, rival Shiv Sena factions on Wednesday used the party's Foundation Day for show of strength ahead of the assembly polls as they sought to cement their position in the state politics two years after a split.

IMAGE: Shiv Sena-UBT president Uddhav Thackeray addresses an event organised in Mumbai on the 58th Foundation Day of the Shiv Sena. Photograph: @ShivSenaUBT_/X

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who heads the Shiv Sena, and his rival and Shiv Sena-UBT president Uddhav Thackeray addressed separate events organised in Mumbai to mark the 58th Foundation Day of the party founded by the late Bal Thackeray which started with the 'son of the soil' agenda and later embraced Hindutva, bringing it close to the BJP.

Speaking at his party's event in Shanmukhananda Hall, Thackeray said he will never go with those who tried to "finish off" his party, putting paid to speculation about a possible reconciliation with the Bharatiya Janata Party post the Lok Sabha polls.

Uddhav Thackeray claimed the new Narendra Modi government at the Centre, which was sworn in on June 9, will collapse and will be replaced by an INDIA bloc dispensation.

The BJP was trying to hide its failure by spreading rumour that the Shiv Sena-UBT will join the ruling NDA, he said, adding that the poll results showed that the saffron party was not invincible.

"We will never go with those who tried to finish off our mother-like Shiv Sena," Thackeray declared, responding to speculation that he will realign with the BJP.


Misusing central agencies against opposition leaders was "government Naxalism", he said.

"This is indeed Naxalism. This is more dangerous than urban misuses power to break opposition parties, topple a good government and take opposition leaders in your party. This is Naxalism which kills democracy," Thackeray said.

The BJP was claiming that his party did not get votes of Hindus and Marathi-speakers, but the Sena-UBT garnered votes from all communities, he said.

The BJP abandoned Hindutva for power, Thackeray alleged, and asked whether its alliance with regional outfits TDP and JDU was organic.

The BJP's Hindutva was "regressive" while the one professed by his party was "progressive", he said.

"Are Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar pro-Hindutva? I challenge Narendra Modi to go to Andhra Pradesh and say that I will fulfil the (assurances in) Chandrababu's manifesto. Hasn't Chandrababu made promises to the Muslim community?

"Hasn't Nitish Kumar given any assurances to the Muslim community in Bihar?" Thackeray further said.

Naidu and Kumar are key allies of the NDA and helped the BJP-led alliance reach the majority mark in the Lok Sabha.

At the Shiv Sena's programme at NSCI complex in Worli, Chief Minister Shinde said the rival faction won Lok Sabha seats in the state because of the Congress' vote bank and likened its victory to a "swelling that will go away in due course".

He lashed out at Thackeray for aligning with the Congress and accused him of discarding the ideology of party founder late Bal Thackeray for vote-bank politics.

The Congress, the Shiv Sena-UBT and the NCP-SP are part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

The CM stressed Bal Thackeray always opposed appeasement politics, but his party was not against patriotic Muslims.

Shinde said Shiv Sena-UBT's electoral success in the Lok Sabha polls was ephemeral.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-UBT won nine Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, while the Shiv Sena headed by Shinde emerged victorious in seven constituencies.

"Shiv Sena-UBT candidates could win only because of the Congress vote-bank. That vote-bank came as a breather for the Shiv Sena-UBT," the CM emphasised.

He likened the Shiv Sena-UBT poll victory to a "swelling" and added "It comes soon and goes away quickly as well. In the coming elections, it will go away."

Asserting his enduring relevance in Maharashtra politics, Shinde, who became CM in June 2022 after revolting against the leadership of his then-boss Uddhav Thackeray, said he will win more elections, referring to the assembly polls which are due in October.

"Shinde's relevance has not ended... I will win more elections in the coming days as well," declared the CM, an ally of the BJP and the Ajit Pawar-led NCP.

Assembly polls in the state are due in October.

Shinde asserted Uddhav Thackeray lacked the moral authority to invoke the legacy of his father Bal Thackeray.

"Where has your Hindutva gone, you have no right to seek votes in Balasaheb Thackeray's name," the CM maintained, hitting out at his predecessor.

He cited the Lok Sabha poll results as evidence of the Shiv Sena's continuing influence in Maharashtra.

Shinde noted his faction retained 14.50 per cent of the original 19 per cent vote share of the undivided Shiv Sena, while the remaining votes went to Uddhav Thackeray's camp.

The Shiv Sena leader mocked the opposition INDIA bloc for its jubilation after the Lok Sabha poll results were announced on June 4.

The Congress, the lead party in the opposition bloc, contested on 328 Lok Sabha seats, but won only 99. Despite this, the INDIA bloc is celebrating as if it has formed a government, he said.

Shinde said his party was the "true" Shiv Sena. "We, and only we, have the rightful claim to celebrate the Foundation Day of the Shiv Sena," he stressed.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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