Hours after Congress president Sonia Gandhi criticised his ‘extremist views’, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray slammed the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena founder Raj Thackeray, accusing him of running a sinister campaign against the Sena and Uddhav Thackeray.
Thackeray addressed the Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) joint rally through a pre-recorded video message at Shivaji Park on Saturday. “These days, someone has suddenly developed love for Maharashtrians and is accusing us of betraying their cause,” said Thackeray, without naming Raj. “This is not true. The Marathi cause was the very reason for the birth of the Sena.”
Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh also addressed the audience.
But Thackeray’s 10-minute speech, laced with his typical wit and humour, was the highlight of the evening as the leader seemed to be in good spirits.
He said those who were accusing Uddhav of being jaundiced were in no position to examine their own situation.
He refuted allegations that Sena was after Maharashtrian votes and expressed confidence that Maharashtrian votes would not be split. “This time, show everyone that Marathi votes are not divided,” he said to the audience.
Thackeray also attacked the ruling combine’s manifesto asking why these promises were not fulfilled during their decade-long rule.
Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray also spoke at the rally.
He quoted dialogues from popular Hindi films and reminded people of the patriotic song Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon while referring to farmers’ suicides.
Uddhav attacked Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Congress President Sonia Gandhi for the “incompetent” rule of their parties.
“This was Sonia’s last rally under their rule,” said Uddhav. “From now onwards, she will have to take our permission.”
He also said only those who salute Shivaji can live in the country.