The Shiv Sena turned 50 on Sunday and expectedly, party president Uddhav Thackeray spoke about its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Thackeray said he won’t break it first, but won’t run behind the BJP either, and asked his party workers to get ready to contest forthcoming BMC elections on their own. He was speaking at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre in Goregaon, where the party members had gathered in large numbers to listen to him. He also admitted that because Narendra Modi held 27 rallies during the assembly polls the Shiv Sena suffered. His speech was little about Shiv Sena’s achievements and packed with criticism of BJP.
Aaditya and Uddhav Thackeray at the event in Goregaon. Pic/Rane Ashish
Thackeray criticised the BJP but claimed that he was only speaking the truth. He said, “After Lok Sabha elections, the PM held 27 election rallies and this impacted our chances in assembly elections. Had we got more time in the assembly elections, the picture would have been different.”
A Bal Thackeray lookalike at the event. Pic/Prabhanjan Dhanu
Giving a clear message that he’s ready to contest solo in the municipal polls, he said, “I don’t know about the alliance, but we are ready for BMC elections. I was never in favour of breaking the alliance, but seeing BJP leaders, we will have to get ready to win elections on our own. We are not going to run behind you (BJP). We are 50-years-old but we don’t have power on our own. But I am telling you, tomorrow we will come to power and that too on our own.”
“No” for the alliance
When he asked his workers about continuing the alliance, the crowd, in a resounding voice said, “No”. This also sends out a message that the party cadre is in no mood to ally with BJP. The alliance broke in 2014 just before assembly polls after staying strong for 25-years.
Thackeray also criticised Modi’s foreign tours. He said, “There’s this whole debate whether we should have all elections at one time, yes we should or else there are many who will have to cancel their foreign tours!”
Defending the party against being called a party of goons, its focus on regionalism etc, Thackeray said, “Shiv Sena was called a party of goons, but we aren’t goons, we are soldiers of Shivaji, and had we been goons we wouldn’t have survived for 50 years. What has Mamata Banerjee said? She came up with Maa, Maati and Manoos. Isn’t it also a symbol of regional thinking? Yes we are regional party, but we are a party of originals.”
Again taking a dig at the BJP, he also raised the Kairana issue and said, “Kairana is becoming another Kashmir, where Hindus are migrating.”
Lastly, justifying his stand on joining the government in the state after criticising it, he said, “We are part of the government, and as part of it we have more responsibility. Our alliance broke, but later, I joined the government, only because I believed that Hindu Rajya that was coming, and hence, I became part of it.”