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‘U-turn? I can take C-turn, Z-turn, it’s my party’: Uddhav Thackeray on BJP-Shiv Sena alliance

The Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s comments come against the backdrop of the flak the party has been receiving for deciding to ally with the BJP after it had resolved to contest the elections on its own.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2019 10:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
BJP-Shiv Sena alliance,uddhav thackeray,bjp-sena poll pact
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has defended his party’s alliance with the BJP for the forthcoming elections. (PTI)

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said that the party’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was revived to keep the Opposition out of power. The Sena president, while speaking at an event organised by the party’s Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti (SLS), said that with the alliance, he has given another chance to the BJP.

The Sena chief’s comments come against the backdrop of the flak the party has been receiving for deciding to ally with the BJP after it had resolved to contest the elections on its own.

At the event on Wednesday, Thackeray also “saluted” the bravery of the officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) who conducted counter-terrorist strikes on Tuesday.

However, he cautioned that politicians and political parties need to “exercise restraint” while addressing the issue. “Nobody should take credit for the bravery of soldiers. At the same time, their morale should not be brought down by raising any kind of doubts,” he said.

The Sena chief also expressed concern about IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who went missing during cross-border clashes on Wednesday.

The SLS is a key body of the Shiv Sena with representations in various central and state government organisations, nationalised banks, insurance sector, oil companies, railways, port, etc. It was started as a movement to seek employment for ‘sons of the soil’ in the state, but it also aides the Sena in electioneering before polls.

Last month, Thackeray had addressed a gathering of SLS members, directing them to prepare to contest solo. On Wednesday, however, the Sena chief said the “atmosphere” has changed from what it was in 2014, and that the BJP has realised the “mistakes” it committed.

“We were together for 25 years; there were issues for five years. We gave Congress 50 years; now let’s give them [the BJP] another five years. If the country had gone into Congress’s hands, many things, including Hindutva, would have lagged behind,” he said.

Thackeray added that in the current political scenario, all political parties—national or regional—are going forth in the elections in an alliance.

“I am confident that if we had decided to fight alone, we would have won. But if you see the scenario today, there is no political party that has gone solo—not even the Congress and the BJP. If we had contested alone, we would have won definitely, but there was a possibility of a hung House. In that case, could we have gone with the Congress,” he asked.

Thackeray asked SLS members to not look at the “criticism” [about the alliance] and said, “Now there are news stories that party workers are upset with alliance, and that Uddhav Thackeray made a U-turn. I will make C-turn, Z-Turn; I will run my party as I want with the support of the sainiks,” he said.

First Published: Feb 28, 2019 10:00 IST