Break the alliance, but don't try to backstab us: Uddhav Thackeray to BJP
Thackeray supported reservation for the Marathas, but asked the government to allow a quota based on economic parameters. Pic/Atul Kamble
Sounding the bugle for the BMC polls, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray challenged the BJP to break the existing alliance, but asked its ally to think twice before backstabbing his party. “Sena stopped your juggernaut in Maharashtra in 2014,” Thackeray told the BJP, while addressing the Sena’s 50th Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park yesterday. He said the Sena would not reach out to the BJP with a begging bowl. “If you want to join us, you are most welcome. But we must get what we want.”
‘Will teach you a lesson’
“We never thought a friend of 25 years would backstab us then. But if you want to repeat it, then do it openly. This tiger cub will teach you a lesson. The Sena will show you its ability to launch a surgical strike on you,” said Thackeray, launching a frontal attack on its major partner in the State and Centre, and a minor ally in the BMC.
He asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to decide as to who in the BJP would take on the Sena. “Firstly, you decide who among you will take the challenge (of fighting the Sena). As of now, whoever wishes so, says something or the other about us,” Thackeray told a moderate rally.
‘Sainiks have saved city from evil’
Underlining the Sena’s ‘unparalleled’ equation with Mumbai and its people, Thackeray said the citizens love the Sainiks because they share a bond of blood between them. “Sainiks are always ahead in helping people. Sainiks have saved this city from evil forces on several occasions. Sainiks are Mumbai and Mumbai is Sainiks,” he said. Bringing all crucial planks — Hindutva and sons of the soil — together on the party’s agenda, Thackeray said the Sena was the only party that has survived challenges and grown hugely, whereas other parties have either disintegrated or vanished.
He said the BJP’s magic was fast waning. “Except Assam, all other states where elections were held after the Lok Sabha polls, regional parties have won power,” he said, adding that the people got time to understand who was right and who was wrong. Thackeray also told Sainiks to not worry much about alliance with the BJP. “I will visit each shakha in the city. You must keep the saffron flag flying high on the BMC. Let them know the power that the bhagva (saffron) wields,” he said.
However, even as he slammed the CM and other state BJP leaders, Thackeray chose to keep in PM Narendra Modi’s good books. He lauded Modi for successfully launching a surgical strike beyond LoC. “I don’t want the government to discuss matters with Pakistan. The PM should not stop at surgical strikes, but ensure that Pakistan is made part of Hindustan.”
Thackeray singled out Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for politicising surgical strikes. “Did Rahul Gandhi learn khoon ki dalali from Bofors case? You criticise the PM, but why distrust our Army?” he said.
Sena with Marathas
Sena chief supported the Maratha agitation for reservation, but asked the government to allow a quota based on economic parameters. “My father always advocated this idea. The Marathas must be given a quota, but without cutting into reservation for others.”
Appeasing Marathas further, Thackeray said he was in favour of amending the Atrocities Act if it was being misused.
As expected, Thackeray agreed with the BJP’s viewpoint that Muslims should not be given a quota because of their religion. “Muslims must get reservation as the poor of this country, but not because they belong to a certain religion.”