BJP hits back at Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray over his Dussehra rally remarks; NCP, Congress back himUpdated: Oct 27, 2020, 00:05 IST
A day after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray slam-med the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Narendra Modi government during his annual Dussehra rally, the party hit back at its ally-turned-foe, terming the Shiv Sena and its chief “an opportunist and betrayer”.
BJP on Monday held two press conferences and at least three other senior party leaders issued statements attacking Thackeray over his remarks.
In response, leaders from the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the ruling alliance of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, spoke out in support of the state’s chief minister.
While former chief minister and BJP Member of Parliament (MP) Narayan Rane said Thackeray has “no right to talk about Hindutva” as he has ditched it in his quest for power, party legislator and former Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said, “Thackeray’s Hindutva has been adulterated after he joined hands with Congress and Nationalist Congress Party and changed the ideology like changing a shawl.”
“Thackeray’s speech in his Dussehra rally was a great flop show on OTT platform. His utterances in the rally were under pressure from the attack on his government...,” said Shelar. “He has criticised BJP over Hindutva, but he has no right to utter a word. Our Hindutva is like skin, while Sena has used it like a shawl. Whenever needed, they have changed it conveniently to acquire power.”
“Thackeray has been saying he does not need any certificate for his Hindutva from us, but he will need it because of the adulteration in his ideology after going with Congress and NCP,” Shelar said. Thackeray in his Dussehra rally on Sunday had said instead of toppling non-BJP governments in states, BJP should protect their government at the Centre as the “mood of people was changing at national level”. Thackeray said his father the late Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva was not about “clanging bells and utensils” and “BJP must learn Hindutva from its ideological fountainhead, RSS”.
Shelar said Thackeray’s bluster about attempts to topple his government has come out of his insecurity. “He has dared us to topple the government, but as we have said in the past, we dare him to run the government efficiently and step out of the house to understand the people’s hardship. He said BJP leaders were nowhere on scene when Babri Masjid was demolished. I want to ask Uddhavji where was he on the day of the high drama in Ayodhya,” he said. Rane, meanwhile, said Thackeray boasts of his father’s ideology, but entire Maharashtra knows how he was harassed and disobeyed during his last days. “He would never have made Uddhav chief minister of the state,” said Rane. The BJP MP alleged involvement of Uddhav’s son and state environment minister Aaditya Thackeray in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and said he will soon be arrested. Rane, however, did not substantiate his claim and said it’s for the investigating agency to find out.
Thackeray found support from his allies NCP and Congress. Minority affairs minister and NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik, without naming Rane, said his language for the CM and malicious reference about Aaditya was not dignified. Congress leader and public works minister Ashok Chavan said what Thackeray said about BJP’s attempt to topple state governments of other parties was right and they support him on his stand.
Sena’s Ratnagiri legislator and higher and technical education minister Uday Samant slammed Rane. “Maharashtra has a culture to speak in a respectful way about its leaders. Such statements and references to our chief minister in a disrespectful manner are not in our culture. Our chief minister has maintained restrain and he is extremely popular among the people. After this press conference, people will reaffirm their faith in Uddhavji Thackeray and stand with him,” said Samant.
State agriculture minister Dada Bhuse, also from Sena, said “Rane should get himself medically checked”. “Entire Maharashtra knows the history and geography of Narayan Rane. Looking at his appearance in today’s press conference, I think he should get his medical check-up done. If you try and spit on the sun, it lands on your face, and this is what has happened with him. One must learn the true understanding of patience and restrain from our young leader Aaditya Thackeray,” said Bhuse. The BJP also questioned Sena over its Hindutva as they have allied with Congress, which had insulted Vinayak Damodar (Veer) Savarkar. However, Sena, in a counter attack, asked why is the BJP-led Central government not awarding Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, to Savarkar.
BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said Thackeray gave a “lesson on Hindutva” from Savarkar Memorial during Sena’s Dussehra rally. “Question is why he didn’t utter a single word of praise for Veer Savarkar. Probably, he is afraid of new friends, who have been repeatedly using derogatory remarks against Veer Savarkar,” said Kadam.
Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said there is no change in party’s stance on Savarkar. “Sena never changed its stand on Veer Savarkar. Whenever an inappropriate comment was made to insult him, we stood by him. We’ve always had an emotional connect with him. Those criticising us must answer why they didn’t give him [Savarkar] Bharat Ratna. They have been in power for six years,” Raut said.