Shivaji memorial: Shiv Sena cadres get lessons on restraint, and when to let go

Updated: Dec 24, 2016, 11:46 IST | Dharmendra Jore |

After BJP tried to take credit for Shivaji memorial, Sena workers told what to do at the inauguration event

Preparations on for the foundation-laying event for the Shivaji Memorial in the Arabian Sea. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Preparations on for the foundation-laying event for the Shivaji Memorial in the Arabian Sea. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Upset with the BJP’s attempt of hijacking the foundation stone-laying event for the Shivaji memorial and some city infrastructure projects, the Shiv Sena has asked its cadres to maintain restraint whenever possible and only let go if the alliance partner crosses ‘limits’ during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit today.

Sources said Sena president Uddhav Thackeray held a closed door meeting with the party’s legislators and MPs at his residence on Friday in which he issued them proper instructions.

The Sena and BJP’s smaller ally, Shiv Sangram, is not happy with the way the BJP has been using the ambitious memorial plan for political gains. The BJP held a rath yatra on Friday to carry pots containing holy waters collected from rivers across the country, and soil collected from King Shivaji’s forts in the state. Shiv Sangram’s chief Vinayak Mete and Sena ministers skipped a programme at Gateway of India, where Fadnavis received the holy water and soil. This was a government event and people were invited. But no Shiv Sena leader turned up for the rath yatra while Mete, who heads state’s Shivaji Memorial Committee, left it midway accusing the BJP of sidelining him.

Attempt to create rift
Sources in the Sena said the party president has asked workers to maintain restraint because the party felt that some BJP leaders were deliberately trying to create disharmony between the two partners, especially Thackeray and CM Devendra Fadnavis, who has convinced the Sena chief to attend the function and share the dais with PM Modi.

“Some leaders in the BJP don’t want Uddhavji and Fadnavis to work together. We also suspect that the ruckus created by the BJP workers at Ram Mandir station inauguration on Thursday was a deliberate attempt to create a rift,” said a Sena leader who attended Friday’s meeting.

However, the Sena workers have been asked to respond equally if BJP cadres cross limits during the events that will be held on Saturday. Thackeray will accompany Modi to the islet in the Arabian sea for bhoomi and jal pujan from where the two will travel to the MMRDA grounds in BKC for a public rally.

Real reason for anger
The real issue that had angered the Sena cadres is BJP workers cheering Modi at the inauguration of Ram Mandir railway station. The leaders justified their protest saying that Modi wasn’t bigger than Lord Ram.

Meanwhile, the Sena is gearing up to match the BJP in displaying its love for Chhatrapati Shivaji. The party has started putting up hoardings hailing the Maratha demigod who has been the party’s mascot for long. The party that popularised a slogan, ‘Jai Shivaji, Jai Bhavani’ has now been left behind by the BJP in extracting political mileage through the memorial event.

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