Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray outside Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Vidhyadhar Rane/HT Photo)
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray outside Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Vidhyadhar Rane/HT Photo)

Only chanting slogans doesn’t make one a patriot: CM Uddhav Thackeray

Taunts PM Modi over renaming Motera stadium, handling of farmers’ protest; Fadnavis says CM doesn’t know difference between rally and session.
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 01:16 AM IST

In a veiled attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leadership, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said just chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ doesn’t make one a patriot and those questioning the Central government are called “traitors”. He said the country is not someone’s personal property and the BJP is trying to hijack idols such as Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabha Bhai Patel and Veer Savarkar and portraying them as theirs as they don’t have their own.

He taunted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over renaming of Motera stadium in Gujarat after his name saying that now the country will never lose a match in that stadium.

Thackeray was replying to a debate in the state Assembly on the Governor’s address, which continued for two days. “The Shiv Sena has not fought for freedom but your mother organization (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) also never fought freedom struggle. One doesn’t become a patriot by just chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. If the elected government could not provide justice to its people then they don’t have the right to chant this slogan (Bharat Mata Ki Jai),” he said, slamming the Modi-led government over multi-layered barricading at Delhi borders to prevent the agitating farmers entering the capital.

“Terrorists wouldn’t have infiltrated the country if this much security arrangements were made at the borders. Are these farmers terrorists or traitors? This country is not your private property. It is also a property of the farmers as well,” he said.

Taking a swipe over renaming of Motera stadium, he said, “Someone said now we won’t be losing any cricket matches because the name of the stadium has been changed. We won’t be losing any match in that stadium… You erase the name of Vallabh bhai (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel), do not award Bharat Ratna to Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) and try to teach Hindutva to us.”

He said the state has proposed the Centre to award Veer Savarkar with ‘Bharat Ratna’ and also sent two letters in 2018 and 2019 in this regard. The state has also passed a resolution for granting classical language status to Marathi language, which is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s (Maratha warrior king) language, and completed all necessary documentation. A proposal to rename Aurangabad airport after Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) is again pending with the Centre.

Reacting to Union home minister Amit Shah’s comment, Thackeray said, “Whatever was decided between Amit Shah and me inside Balasaheb Thackeray’s room at Matoshri was denied shamelessly. I am purposely using this word because that room is like a temple for us.” He also said he still wonders why Devendra Fadnavis (the then chief minister) was asked to wait outside Thackeray’s room during that meeting.

He also pointed out that the BJP didn’t make a law for construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya despite being in the government for six years and tried to take the credit after a decision came from the Supreme Court. “Now they are collecting money for temple construction from the people and again trying to take the credit,” he said taking a jibe at the ruling saffron party.

Responding to the accusations, former chief minister and leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis said the chief minister is yet to understand the difference between a reply on issues raised in the Assembly and addressing a public rally. “He (CM Thackeray) could not reply to the issues raised by us, be it corruption in handling Covid-19 pandemic or providing relief to the farmers hit by pink bollworm, a pest that damages cotton farms,” Fadnavis told reporters at Vidhan Bhavan premises.

He said that the chief minister is lying through his teeth on the claims made by Thackeray over the union home minister. “He is lying through his teeth on whatever he said about the union home minister. He (Thackeray) also knows the truth,” he remarked.

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