Uddhav Thackeray says he is out to nail 'temple lie'
Taking a potshot at BJP, Shiv Sena chief says purpose of Ayodhya visit is to hold politicians accountable for repeated promises of building Ram temple
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray won't waste any time fighting critics who say that he is bringing up the Ayodhya temple issue because of the forthcoming elections. Instead, he used the opportunity to launch yet another attack on frenemy party, BJP, claiming that he was out to nail the 'temple lie'.
"[My] critics say that I have raised the issue because of the forthcoming polls. I say yes, because they [BJP] have made a promise every time they faced elections. It because of this that I have given the slogan, 'pehle mandir baadme sarkaar' (temple first, the government later)," said Thackeray while launching a special Diwali book published by the city's television journalists.
"My father had told me to not speak lies to seek votes," he said, adding that the all castes would come together only if a true Hindutva bound them. The Sena represented true Hindutva, he added, in another barb directed at his ally, the BJP.
Yet to finalise rally
He said this weekend's Ayodhya tour would happen as planned, and further claimed it will impact the Ram temple issue greatly. As reports come in that Thackeray may not be able to address the rally in Ayodhya because of law and order restrictions, the Sena president preferred to end the speculation that there was a difference of opinion in the party. "I will take a final decision on the rally. The visit's details have not been finalised yet," he said.
In a bid to facilitate a smooth visit, which is expected to be strengthened by the presence of a massive contingent of Shiv Sainiks from Maharashtra, Sena MP Sanjay Raut and party secretary Milind Narvekar are now holding talks with the Uttar Pradesh authorities. There are tentative plans for Thackeray to travel to Lucknow by air on November 24, from where he will reach Ayodhya by road for the Sarayu Aarati. The next day, the leaders will either hold a press conference or address a public rally, and visit the disputed temple-masjid site.
Surprised by invitation?
Thackeray joked that he was surprised to be invited for the journalists' event. "I'm so used to the barbs (in media) that I'm prompted to recall a film dialogue in which the actress says she fears love more than a slap in her face," he said. He added that sometimes his wife tells him that after reading or watching the news, she would also have him imagined as a villain if she was an outsider.
He offered a word of advice for media persons: "It is not fair to seek happiness in cornering a particular person [while reporting]. If you cannot not appreciate, then at least be factually correct in reporting the news. No leader can be sarvagyani (all-knowing). We, the leaders, understand your concern when you point out our mistakes. In fact, we try to correct ourselves after reading such reports."
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