They are patriarchs of their parties -- one young and audacious, the other ageing but arrogant; MiD DAY brings you ground reports from Bal and Raj Thackeray's rallies in the city yesterday
It was a clash of the titans, a war of the two Senas ahead of the February 16 civic polls as Bal Thackeray and his nephew Raj addressed two massive rallies in the city on the same day. While it's time for Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to prove its worth at the BMC polls, it is a question of survival for Shiv Sena. The corporation has been Shiv Sena's bastion since 1996. Around 50,000 turned up for the elder Thackeray's rally at MMRDA Grounds in Bandra-Kurla complex, and about 15,000 attended his nephew's congregation at Worli's Jamboree Maidan.
Perhaps, with age and ill health taking their toll, the Shiv Sena patriarch was uncharacteristically subdued, with occasional roars. Raj on the other hand was at his flamboyant best, ready to take on the world. They covered diverse issues, made many promises, levelled numerous charges and defended several accusations. Here are a few common points the two Thackerays touched upon:
On Raj leaving Sena
Raj Thackeray: Between 2001 and 2003 I was cooling my heels in the party without any specific responsibility. I was remembered only in 2004 when the Sena chief summoned me once at Matoshri as assembly elections were approaching. I was asked to start campaigning.
As alleged by him, I did not ask for Mumbai in sheer disappointment when they decided to pitch me before Narayan Rane in Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri.
I have high respect for Bal Thackeray. But he doesn't know how the party is being run now. He doesn't venture out of home. I would walk 100 steps towards Bal Thackeray, but not for Uddhav Thackeray and his coterie.
Bal Thackeray: I never made Uddhav your leader; it was Raj who made him. I was not even consulted before Uddhav was made executive president. I opposed it and asked everyone whether they were happy with the decision. [In reply to some supporters who were shouting slogans, saying how will Raj bring Navnirman (new development), when he has dirtied his own family's home?] We will give him brooms to clean it."
Who's got the numbers? Around 50,000 turned up for the elder
Thackeray's rally at MMRDA Grounds in Bandra-Kurla complex, while
about 15,000 attended his nephew's congregation at Worli's Jamboree
Maidan. Pics/ Rane Ashish, Pradeep Dhivar and Sayed Sameer Abedi
On corruption in BMC
Raj Thackeray: They (Sena-BJP) have ruined the city. So much corruption is going on. They began their work only in 2009 after MNS won 13 assembly seats... For 17 years they have fooled you and me too. But don't get fooled now as this the chance which comes in five years.
Bal Thackeray: We have done the work. Have a look at Shivaji Park swimming pool and many other projects ¦We are being labelled as corrupt; that we have swindled Rs 40,000 crore. Who has done it? Do they even know how many zeroes there are in that figure? Where is the money? I have got nothing.