Mumbai: Sainiks put up poster, Sena pulls it down
A day before their current party boss Uddhav Thackeray makes his annual Dussehra speech at the Shivaji Park on Thursday, the sainiks from Ghatkopar (East) reminded the BJP about the high respect Sena’s founding chief, the late Bal Thackeray, had commanded when he was alive. Uddhav is expected to chart out the Shiv Sena’s stand in view of a feud with the Bharatiya Janata Party, at the rally.
The poster, since removed, carried the images of top luminaries from various parties
On Wednesday morning, the sainiks put up a huge poster on a wall in front of Sena Bhavan. This poster was pulled down by the sainiks after the local police intervened and the Sena officially distanced itself from the development. The Sena said that the display wasn’t the party’s official stand. It asked mediapersons not to arrive at any conclusion, based on the poster’s content.
However, a senior BJP leader told mid-day, requesting anonymity, that the poster did not go well with the Sena because it showed the party’s current boss and Balasaheb’s son Uddhav in a poor light. “The sainiks made their leader (Uddhav) a laughing stock.
People who have some political awareness understood that the Sena’s leadership doesn’t command the respect its late founder commanded. Perhaps this could be the reason that the leadership has decided to reprimand the sainiks responsible,” he told mid-day.
However, the message the poster had for the BJP was very simple and straight: There was a time when no one dared to mess with Bal Thackeray. It said that the leaders who smack of arrogance (because of the positions of power they hold) had kneeled before the late Sena chief.
One of the pictures that showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi bowing before the late Thackeray said it all. Other leaders on display were ex-PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, ex-deputy PM Lal Krishna Advani, union minister Nitin Gadkari, ex-union minister late Gopinath Munde, former CM Narayan Rane, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, NCP boss Sharad Pawar and President Pranab Mukherjee.
While the Sena denied any hand in the development, the party’s veteran leader and ex-Lok Sabha speaker and former CM Manohar Joshi justified the action. “The sainiks have told the BJP what they want to tell. They have told the people about how the behaviour of the BJP leaders has changed (after making a government in the state and the Centre). It depicts how the BJP guys, who would bow before Balasaheb, are up to now,” he told reporters.
Sources in the BJP said that the Sena leadership had conveyed to them that the poster was put up without the party’s approval and the sainiks responsible would be reprimanded for doing this. The BJP has decided not to make any comment and worsen matters further. BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said the party would not comment on the issue.
The Congress took objection to the Sena’s actions and demanded an apology for misusing the President’s picture. “Mr Mukherjee had met the late Balasaheb as a presidential candidate during his campaign (Sena had voted for Mukherjee). He had greeted the great leader as a mark of respect. It’s an insult to the highest constitutional position of the country.
The Sena must tender an apology for using the President’s picture in the party’s advertisement. The Sena has done it out of frustration,” opposition leader in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil told mid-day. Leeladhar Dake, the Sena’s senior leader and ex-minister, whose name appeared on the poster, was not available for comment.