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Nov 18, 2019-Monday



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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Pro-Hindutva parties must come together: Sena chief on Ayodhya verdict

mumbai Updated: Nov 10, 2019 00:25 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal

Welcoming the Supreme Court’s (SC) verdict on the land dispute in Ayodhya, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray gave mixed signals regarding the deadlock surrounding government formation in Maharashtra. Thackeray said pro-Hindutva parties should come together, but avoided commenting specifically on government formation.

Thackeray addressed a press conference on Saturday at Sena Bhavan in Dadar. He said he may visit Ayodhya on November 24. When asked about recent political developments, he said, “I have spoken on it yesterday and will speak tomorrow. Today is the day of celebration.” Thackeray said the credit for the verdict should not go to the Centre, but to the SC.

To those asking about government formation, Thackeray said, “The government will be formed. There is nothing to worry.”

The statement, coming in the middle of stand-off between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Sena, could be a hint at a possible reconciliation between the two parties over the larger issue of Hindutva.

A Sena functionary said, “He [Thackeray] is definitely hurt by such politics. However, he would still prefer BJP. If someone from the central leadership of BJP calls him and sorts it out, discussions could commence.”

Thackeray, who has visited the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya twice in the past year, said he may visit the site soon.

“I am not declaring my plan yet, but I will see if the law-and-order scenario is fine in Ayodhya. If it is, I will definitely go on November 24,” he said.

The Sena chief also said he would visit LK Advani soon, describing the veteran BJP leader’s contribution to the issue of the Ram temple as “immense”. The Sena chief is also expected to visit Shivneri Fort, the birthplace of Maratha warrior king Shivaji, in the next couple of days.

When asked by when the temple may be built, Thackeray said, “Right now, the moment should be enjoyed by everyone and then all will happen.” When asked if the Sena would take up the issue with the Shahi Idgah mosque that stands adjacent to the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple complex in Mathura, he said, “I feel that those parties that just talk about Hindutva must practice Hindutva and come together and decide.” On being asked if there is any message for the BJP, Thackeray said, “No, I have called other parties as well.” The statement suggests the Sena chief is keeping his options open.

Amid speculations that the Sena could align with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to form a government in the state, Thackeray avoided answering questions about the withdrawal of the security cover for Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.

Thackeray also appealed to members of all religions to collectively welcome the SC’s decision. “We should not dig up what had happened in the past.” He said it was time to “create a bright new history”. “There is no harm if everyone can go hand in hand for that,” said Thackeray.