In a bid to nip any nascent mutineers within party ranks, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday demonstrated that he was undaunted by their tantrums. “Those who do not believe in my leadership can leave the party,” he announced a few minutes before he addressed senior party leaders at his residence Matoshree in Bandra (East).
The remark hit home. Soon after the meeting came an apology by senior party leader Manohar Joshi for his public effrontery against Uddhav, in which he had implied that the incumbent party leadership was tractable. “I don’t want people who have a grouse against me,” Uddhav said, in a clear warning to rebels, including former MP from south-central Mumbai Mohan Raole, who recently met Sena’s chief foe MNS president Raj Thackeray.
After this meeting, the five-time MP had lashed out against Uddhav at the way he was being treated. “I am not being consulted in party matters and even my pictures were missing from the party posters in south-central Mumbai, which is now part of the south Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency,” he is reported to have rued.
His remark, seen as the most outspoken affront to the ways of the man at the helm, raised many eyebrows. Meanwhile, Joshi, after his participation in the meeting at Matoshree, submitted his letter of apology to Uddhav in which he expressed remorse for his indiscipline as a party member. “I have full faith in Uddhav Thackeray and also strongly believe that under his leadership the party will come to power in Maharashtra.
I have always obeyed his orders and if I have ever made any statement that insults him I am seeking public apology. I hope it will draw the curtains over the controversy,” he said. The volte-face by Joshi is likely to keep others, who have similar reservations about the direction the Sena is taking, on leash, sources said.