As he made an emotional appeal to his party cadre to stand by his son Uddhav and grandson Aditya, ailing Sena chief Bal Thackeray also made it clear that his pet subjects — the cause of the Marathi manoos and Hindutva — would remain the party’s focus in the future as well.
He also did not fail to take potshots at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, whom he is famous for mimicking.
Thackeray could not attend the party’s Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park on Wednesday, but addressed Sainiks through a video address. The senior Thackeray, who was hospitalised on July 24, is suffering from ailments of the pancreas and lungs.
Both Thackeray and his son Uddhav played the Hindutva card in their speeches and spoke about the violence at Azad Maidan on August 11, accusing the government of favouring Muslims. “How did the people from Raza Academy dare to do what they did at Azad Maidan? Why can’t the government have some control? Why did people from Mumbra lead a morcha (to support Pakistani activist Malala Yusuf)," senior Thackeray asked. He also questioned how a Muslim outfit from Hyderabad could win 11 seats in the Nanded civic polls. On his part, Uddhav raised the issue of infiltration from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Talking on the issue of language, Thackeray targeted friend and NCP chief Sharad Pawar over the latter’s comment about Mumbai being a cosmopolitan city. "Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and belongs to the Marathi manoos... if you say more, I can reveal a lot of inside material on Lavasa," he warned Pawar.
Uddhav, too, questioned Pawar asking him what the NCP had done for the Marathi manoos. Taking a potshot at Pawar’s nephew and former deputy CM Ajit Pawar, he said that his recent resignation was a drama. "If it was real, they would have replaced him," Uddhav said.
Senior Thackeray alleged five people were responsible for ruining the country — Sonia Gandhi, her children Priyanka and Rahul, son-in-law Robert Vadra and her political secretary Ahmed Patel.
Talking about his book Fatkare (lashes), a compilation of his cartoons that was released at the program on Wednesday, he said that it contains his works since 1947, and has caricatures on former US president Dwight Eisenhower, and Indian prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi.
Thousands of Sainiks thronged to Shivaji Park where the Sena has been holding a Dussehra rally for over four decades. This could be the last year as the Bombay high court has told it to look for another venue from next year, as Shivaji Park falls in a silence zone.