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Hindutva faces threat from ‘neo-Hindus’, says Uddhav

The Shiv Sena chief also accused the BJP of not understanding either VD Savarkar or Mahatma Gandhi.
The Maharashtra chief minister’s comments came days after defence minister Rajnath Singh stirred up a row by claiming that Savarkar filed mercy petition with the British on the suggestion of Gandhi.(HT_PRINT)
Published on Oct 16, 2021 02:46 AM IST
Agencies | ByHT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday launched a scathing attack on his former ally Bharatiya Janata Party, saying that Hindutva faced threat not from outsiders but from “neo-Hindus” and “those who climbed the ladder of power”. The Shiv Sena chief also accused the BJP of not understanding either VD Savarkar or Mahatma Gandhi.

“I believe that Hindutva is now under threat. Those who have used the ladder of Hindutva can now use the strategy of the British of divide and rule. They will create a divide between Marathis and non-Marathis. They will erect a wall between the Marathas and other communities and continue to enjoy the power in the Centre. Marathi people must unite by forgetting their differences. With this unity, another unity is needed. The division between Marathis and non-Marathis should be buried,” the Shiv Sena chief said during his address at the annual Dussehra rally in Mumbai.

Accusing the BJP of making no contribution to the freedom struggle, Thackeray said: “You (the BJP) have not understood Savarkar or Gandhi....When you have no contribution (to freedom struggle), what right you have to speak about Gandhi or Savarkar?”

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The Maharashtra chief minister’s comments came days after defence minister Rajnath Singh stirred up a row by claiming that Savarkar filed mercy petition with the British on the suggestion of Gandhi.

On Friday, Union home minister Amit Shah hit out at those questioning the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue’s commitment to the freedom struggle, saying that Savarkar’s patriotism and bravery cannot be questioned.

During the event, Thackeray also accused the Centre of interfering in the state’s day-to-day affairs, saying that it “cannot happen and can’t be tolerated”.

“Babasaheb Ambedkar firmly said that like the Centre, the States too, have sovereign rights. If the Centre interferes in the working of the State, it will be unconstitutional. You can see this [intereference], right?” he asked.

“I want the opinions of intellectuals and constitutional experts on this issue. Let there be an open discussion over this. After studying the Constitution, if it comes to light that the Centre is above us (States), then let it be so. But if Constitution has given us sovereign rights as the Centre, then the Centre’s daily interference cannot happen and cannot be tolerated. Now the time has come for all the States in the country to decide on this,” he added.

The Sena chief also alleged misuse of central agencies to defame the Maharashtra government. “A picture is painted that the drugs business is booming only in Maharashtra. It is not so that drugs are caught only in Maharashtra. The court has directed [officials] to probe the Mundra port where drugs worth crores of rupees were found. Where is this Mundra port? You merely find a pinch of Ganja, while my police [force] busted drugs worth 150 crore. You catch a celebrity and beat drums about it. But my police has busted drug [network] and nobody talks about it,” he said.

Reacting to Uddhav’s statements, state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Chandrakant Patil said, “We thought that Maharashtra CM will speak on the issues of the state including crimes against women, the issues of farmers. But he didn’t speak in these issues...,”

The state BJP chief said Thackeray’s speech was nothing but targetting BJP and the central government.

“When did Shiv Sena fight for Hindutva? For how many years will you use one line by Balasaheb Thackeray on Babri Masjid. He has said that if nobody is taking responsibility of the demolition then Shiv Sena will take it. But was one Shiv Sainik present there?” said Patil.

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