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Uddhav sees advantage

Updated on: 23 April,2024 05:14 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief charges ahead to counter ECI order about deities

Uddhav sees advantage

Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray at a rally in Buldhana, on Sunday. Pic/Satej Shinde

Dharmendra JoreAccused of dropping the Hindutva agenda that his father--the late Balasaheb--propagated, Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Uddhav Thackeray has landed an unexpected advantage, thanks to the Election Commission of India’s instruction to remove the words ‘Hindu’ and ‘Bhavani’ from his party’s campaign song. Thackeray has countered the ECI asking it to take action against the PM and Amit Shah before issuing him a notice. “If the poll body takes action against us, they will have to tell us what they did when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who while campaigning during the Karnataka assembly elections, had asked people to say Jai Bajrang Bali and press the button on EVMs. Amit Shah had told people to vote for the BJP to get Ram Lalla darshan for free in Ayodhya,” he said, while addressing a press conference on Sunday.

A day later in Amravati and elsewhere, Thackeray told MVA supporters about the development, and prompted them to chant the slogans “Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji,” that is synonymous with Shiv Sena (both factions). He reiterated that he won’t budge, he won’t remove the words that are so sacred to ‘us’. Referring to the EC’s notice, he recalled the incident in which his father was disenfranchised (barred from casting his vote and contesting polls) for six years on the charges of using religion in a poll campaign (the verdict came 12 years after the controversy). He said BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the PM when the order had been issued. On Sunday and Monday, he reiterated the allegations that the yardsticks were different for PM Modi and for his father. Thackeray had raised a similar question last year, too, in regard with the PM’s sloganeering in Karnataka elections. He said he had written a letter to the ECI, which hadn’t received a response. 

Thackeray has dared the ECI in the name of the same Hindutva that, according to his opponents in the BJP and Shinde Sena, has been softened following an alliance with the Congress and NCP. Thackeray shared the dais with top leadership of NCP and Congress on Monday while exhorting the sainiks and fellow Hindu supporters of the MVA to oppose anyone who insults ‘Aai Bhavani (mother Bhavani)’ who is Maharashtra’s family deity. He said there was a possibility of the commission banning the word ‘Shivaji’. It will be interesting to see how things unfold in the future. Thackeray has realised the gains in defying the ECI instructions. 

Dharmendra Jore is political editor, mid-day. He tweets @dharmendrajore

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