While celebrating the 89th birth anniversary of his father and founder of Shiv Sena Bal Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray saved all the 10 minutes of his speech for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which he attacked on various counts.
Uddhav Thackeray addressing Shiv Sainiks at Shanmukhananda Hall on Saturday evening
Thackeray started his speech at Shanmukhananda Hall in Matunga, saying, “I still remember the days when Balasaheb would be with us on stage. For us, today is a festival and I don’t want it disturbed, hence I came here. I remember Balasaheb every day.”
On the issue of intolerance, Thackeray said, “The moment you side with Hindus, you become intolerant, but I don’t care. Hence, I always start my speech by thanking all the Hindus who have come to listen to me. I am against what happened in Dadri, but what happened in Pune, where a Hindu boy named Sawan Rathod, was cornered by three people and burnt alive because of his religion — I don’t know whether this falls within the definition of being intolerant. I remember Balasaheb who had said, ‘we won’t attack anyone but if anyone does we won't leave them’.”
He claimed his party is Hindu but doesn’t discriminate between religions and helps everyone immaterial of their faith or caste.
“A Shiv Sainik, Ramesh Walunj jumped to save three girls in Bandstand without thinking whether they were Hindus or Muslims, or Marathi or non-Marathi,” said Thackeray referring to the selfie deaths that occurred at Bandstand earlier this month.
On attacking BJP, Uddhav started with the Pathankot attacks and took a jibe at the India-Pak talks. “Indo-Pak talks were on, but then Pathankot happened. Our defence minister said we will avenge Pathankot. How, I still wonder.”
He then moved on to the main issue of contention — the BJP wanting to occupy the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which has long been a Sena stronghold. “Everyone wants to hoist their flag in BMC. They don’t know the nooks and corners of Mumbai. People wanted to hoist their flags in Delhi assembly and Bihar assembly but that never happened. Even in BMC, it will be the Shiv Sena’s saffron flag that will fly high.”