‘Sena’s colour, conscience saffron’Updated: Jan 24, 2020 00:18 IST
Taking on opponents’ criticism that the Shiv Sena had abandoned Hindutva, Shiv Sena chief and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday emphasised that his party’s “colour and conscience” are still saffron.
Thackeray made the statement on the day his estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray took a saffron turn, unveiling the party’ new saffron flag and a hardline Hindutva approach.
The Sena chief was felicitated by the party’s senior Sainiks at an event to celebrate the “fulfilment of the promise” Thackeray gave to his father and Sena founder Bal Thackeray. Thackeray had promised Thackeray senior that he would install a Sena chief minister. “Many think that we have abandoned the saffron colour. It is not like that. We have not changed the colour and our conscience. Our colour and conscience still remain saffron,” Thackeray said, at the event held at MMRDA Grounds in Bandra-Kurla Complex.
He also lambasted the BJP for breaking away from the Sena in 2014 and not fulfilling the word on sharing power in 2019. He said, “Our former alliance partner, the BJP, didn’t keep the word given in Balasaheb’s room, which is temple for us. They tried to portray me as a liar and everyone saw that. I will never lie till my last breath. So we forged this alliance with those whom we fought with for the past three-four decades.”
After the BJP and Sena parted ways in October 2019, the Sena forged an alliance with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra.
Following the formation of the MVA government, the Sena faced questions over leaving the Hindutva agenda owing to a tie-up with secular parties. He said, “Recently, there was criticism that we have been exposed. You broke the alliance with the Sena, who are staunch Hindutvawadis, in 2014 as well and had formed the government with the help of an invisible hand.”
In an indirect attack on Raj Thackeray, the chief minister said not just outsiders, but people from within have attacked the Sena. He added that he has never feared challenges. “I have never run away from any responsibility in the battlefield. I never fear any challenge, but I need your support and cooperation. Not just the others, but opponents from within have also attacked the Sena, but they were defeated by the suraksha kavach (pointing towards Shiv Sainiks),” he said.
“I had never dreamt of taking on this responsibility. I had never promised Balasaheb that I will make myself the CM.”