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Shiv Sena finds a way to bring Balasaheb back on stage

At the Pratigya Din rally held at Somaiya Grounds in Chunabhatti, the 2-lakh odd Shiv Sena workers who had congregated to swear their allegiance were treated to a video of the party’s late supremo back in 1994, reading out an oath before forming the state government

At its pre-election rally in the city yesterday, Shiv Sena was seen trying to go back in time to inspire its legions, using technology to get the late Balasaheb Thackeray back on stage and firmly in the limelight. As a prelude to the oath-taking ceremony that marked Balasaheb’s birth anniversary, party workers were shown a video recorded back in 1994, where the late Balasaheb was seen reading out an oath to his followers in Nashik, just before his party formed the state government.

Saffron power: Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray was applauded by lakhs of supporters who had come out to the Somaiya Grounds in Chunabhatti. During the rally, Thackeray proclaimed he was proud to be Hindu.
Saffron power: Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray was applauded by lakhs of supporters who had come out to the Somaiya Grounds in Chunabhatti. During the rally, Thackeray proclaimed he was proud to be Hindu

The grand affair was hosted at the Somaiya Grounds in Chunabhatti, which, the party claims, was attended by more than 2 lakh followers. The rally was named Pratigya Din, where Uddhav asked his party workers to take an oath pledging their allegiance to the party.

Saffron threads were also distributed to the followers. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Saffron threads were also distributed to the followers. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The party also distributed 2.8 lakh shivbandhans (saffron threads) to all those who attended, and plans to distribute another 2.5 lakh such threads in the days to come. Every member was asked to tie the thread around their wrists, after which they recited the oath after Uddhav Thackeray.

'Proud to be Hindu'
Uddhav Thackeray at the rally reiterated that Hindutva is the most important issue for him and his party. “With elections close by, every one will start calling us communal. I want to ask them: is it a crime to call ourselves Hindu? I am a Hindu, my parents are Hindu and I am proud of it,” said Uddhav. He blamed the Congress and NCP for playing the communal card. He also asked the spectators to be on guard against elements who would attempt to cause rifts between religions and groups that could lead to riots.

He also took a dig at the Congress, saying that its divide-and-rule policy was evident to all. Uddhav didn’t spare the state’s Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. Calling him an import from Delhi, he said that Chavan did no work. “It’s not just me; the people within his party are tired of him.

I asked a Congress man the other day about his opinion on Chavan, and he told me that Chavan’s operation has been successful, but the patient is dead. I don’t blame Chavan alone. People before him have done so much illegal work, that when he tries to close one issue, another opens up.”

Uddhav added that his party wasn’t a ‘shop’, but had its own ideology that it adhered to. “We need power. We will take it. NCP wants to break ties with the government but they can’t because the moment they do it, the Congress would start an inquiry against them,” said Uddhav. He added, “Only BJP-Sena can give a stable and strong government, no one else.”

Foot-in-mouth
Uddhav, who is usually sound with his facts, made a rare slip-up during his address, when he said, “This would be the last Congress PM that will hoist the flag from the Red Fort. Next time, it would be our PM that will hoist the flag and deliver the speech from there.” Uddhav seemed to have forgotten for a moment that the country’s president — and not its PM — hoists the flag on January 26 and delivers an address.

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