After lying low for a few weeks, Shiv Sena executive president, Uddhav Thackeray, resurfaced on the political stage on Friday with his party’s plans for the state’s golden jubilee celebrations.
“We will commemorate the sacrifice of martyrs by organising a massive blood donation drive on April 25 at the NSE Grounds, Goregaon,” Thackeray told journalists at Sena Bhavan. “On May 1, there will be a musical programme by Lata Mangeshkar at Bandra Kurla Complex. More than one lakh people will attend it.” Sena chief Bal Thackeray is also expected to be present that evening.
As he listed the events scheduled, Thackeray avoided answering any queries about ally Bharatiya Janata Party’s demand for statehood for Vidarbha.
“I am here to speak about my party’s agenda. This is a golden jubilee year of the formation of Samyukta Maharashtra, including Vidarbha, and no one can stop me from celebrating it,” he said, adding that celebrations will be held across the state, including Vidarbha.
“We have witnessed the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, but our coming generations will not be aware of it. This is an attempt to educate and inform the next generation,” Thackeray said.
Thackeray said the Sena will continue to protest against the Karnataka government for the treatment meted out to Marathi-speaking people in the state and the Maharashtra-Karnataka border row. “Sena legislators met the Karnataka chief minister the other day and Sena protests on the issue continue even today,” he said.
The Sena also softened its stance on tennis player Sania Mirza’s marriage to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik saying it was her “personal matter” and the party had already expressed its views on the issue in its mouthpiece Saamna on Friday.
Sena chief Bal Thackeray had on Friday criticised Mirza saying that she is no longer an Indian. “Henceforth, Sania will not be considered Indian. Had her heart been Indian, it wouldn’t have beaten for a Pakistani,” the Sena chief had said.