Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.(ANI)
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.(ANI)

‘Don’t compel me to come after you’: Uddhav Thackeray’s veiled warning to Opposition

Thackeray, who completes a year in office on Friday, said he is keeping a “close eye” on political developments in the state
By Swapnil Rawal | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2020 02:16 PM IST

Slamming the Opposition, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has said he should not be compelled to go after them. In an interview to Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Thackeray’s word of caution comes in the wake of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) action against Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik.

Thackeray, who completes a year in office on Friday, said he is keeping a “close eye” on political developments in the state. He said that central agencies are misused in the country and the manner in which families are being targeted shows “vindictive” politics of opposition (party in the state).

The CM, in the interview to Sena leader and Saamana executive editor Sanjay Raut, spoke on a range of issues, from Mumbai civic polls, to his family being targeted in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, “love jihad”, Anvay Naik’s case, and the performance and plans of the state government.

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Thackeray said he does not want to resort to vindictive politics. He said he gets “energised” when he is “challenged”. “We do not want to get into vindictive politics but if you force us, we will use Sudarshan chakra [mythological weapon] against your vindictiveness,” he said.

“I am following all developments closely. If I am quiet or I am restrained it doesn’t mean that I am unmanly. The manner in which people’s families and children are targeted does not suit Maharashtra’s culture. The ones targeting families and children must remember that even they have families. They are not clean… Not only the government but the people of Maharashtra will definitely resist such vindictive politics,” he said.

In a veiled reference to prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah, Thackeray said others should remember the cases against them and how Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray supported [PM] Modi.

“Practice politics like it should be. If you are going to misuse power then one must remember that power does not remain forever. Even they faced cases earlier, and they must remember how Shiv Sena chief saved them,” he said, adding that the “real power” is the people, which is with them.

Responding to a question on the criticism of the Opposition that the CM is merely asking people to wash hands regularly, Thackeray said, “Right now, I am only asking to wash hands... if such attack continues, I will come after them.”

Asked how he felt when his family was targeted in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, the Shiv Sena chief said, “Those who have families and children should look into mirror once. Do not compel us to take that step. If I go after you… I do not want to stoop to that level.” Thackeray’s son and Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray was indirectly linked to the SSR case by some members of the BJP and social media campaign was created to target him.

Speaking on the death of Rajput and the controversy that followed, Thackeray said, “I look at the entire issue with pity. This is a tendency of profiting from the dead. Such people are not worthy. One young boy lost his life and they are politicising it. It is dirty and perverted politics.”

Raut also asked about the Anvay Naik suicide abetment case in which Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami is one of the accused. Thackeray slammed the former BJP government for sweeping the case under the carpet. “One Marathi businessman was cheated by outsiders. He died by suicide and wrote a note. You push the case under the carpet and those who ask for reinvestigation, you make ED run behind them. You want us to turn a blind eye?” he said, referring to Sarnaik who demanded the reopening the case.

Attacking the BJP over the issue of inter-faith marriages, Thackeray said that alliance of different political ideologies work for BJP, but not marriage between a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl. “Rather than politics of ‘love jihad’, why shouldn’t the concept be applicable in politics? They [BJP] are opposed to a Muslim boy marrying a Hindu girl. Then how did you [BJP] have an alliance with Mehbooba Mufti or Nitish Kumar or Chandrababu Naidu? Alliance with different political parties with different ideologies works for you, isn’t this ‘love jihad’?” he said.

Responding to the demand that Maharashtra government should bring a law against inter-faith marriages, Thackeray said, “We can make a law on it but first tell us when you [central government] will bring in anti-cow slaughter law? Why don’t you make a law in Goa, you have a government there? Enforce it from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,” he said.

On the continuing criticism that Sena had abandoned Hindutva ideology by allying with NCP and Congress, Thackeray said that it is not loincloth to change. “Hindutva is not a dhoti (loincloth) to change. It is in our blood and veins. I follow my father’s and grandfather’s concept of Hindutva. They said we do not want a [temple] bell tolling Hindutva, we want a Hindutva that will finish off terrorists and my father proved it in 1992-93. When no one was coming forward to accept the demolition of Babri, he did it. Ram Mandir happened due to the court’s decision. No political party should take credit for it,” Thackeray said.

Thackeray added that he does not consider the biggest political fight for Sena will be the BMC election in 2022. He said that nobody can uninstall the saffron flag of the party that is fluttering over the BMC for the last three decades. “I do not think so that it is possible for anybody to remove the saffron flag. I know my Mumbaikar they have stood behind us for the last 25-30 years and will continue to remain. They can try but Mumbaikars will not get anybody close to the saffron flag,” Thackeray said.

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