Mumbai (The Hindu): On its 50th foundation day celebration on Sunday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, chose to send a clear signal to alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party, by asking his party workers to start preparing to win upcoming elections on their own. without being dependent on anyone.
“I have no idea about the fate of our alliance [with BJP]. The previous alliance was based on Hindutva and we (Sena) did not want to break it. I will decide whether to form an alliance now (in election) or not. But I want to tell you all one important thing. Be ready to win elections on your own from now on,” Mr. Thackeray told his party workers at a large gathering in Goregaon.
Ties between the BJP and Shiv Sena — allies in the State and Centre — have been strained for a while. Mr. Thackeray’s call therefore, assumes significance as nine municipal corporations in the State will go to polls early next year. So far, no party wants to take the blame for breaking the alliance.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s speech to mark the party’s foundation day celebrations on Sunday addressed the growing rift with Bharatiya Janata Party directly: “I am saying it very clearly; do not misinterpret it. We do not want to break the alliance. But let me be clear on this. If an alliance is formed it will be on mutual respect and not by accepting humiliation. We want a respectable partnership and not an abnormal one.”
Taking a swipe at the BJP leaders who have recently targeted the Sena, Mr. Thackeray reminded the audience that “once the wave recedes, only pebbles will be left. When the wind blows, even a torn cloth flutters. It is the saffron flag of Sena which does not need a wave or wind. It was always on top and will remain so,” he said.
Referring to Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and the positive signals received from him, Mr. Thackeray said, “Now I have made myself very clear; I will wait for a reply.” Touching upon the party’s achievements over 50 years, Mr. Thackeray spoke of the Sena’s core Hindutva and regionalism principles by recalling the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, Babri mosque demolition and Bombay riots.
Taking a dig at the BJP’s Minister for housing in the State, Prakash Mehta, who recently compared his party with a lion; Mr. Thackeray said it was the Sena’s tiger which chose to hit the streets to defend Hindu brethren. “These lions of today were hiding, when the tigers were out on the street to save Hindus. I don’t want to get into this fight, but let me make something clear. Lions live in groups, but the tiger is always alone, fearless,” he said.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ‘Desh badal raha hai’ (Nation is changing), campaign on completion of two years of the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre, Mr. Thackeray said, “The conditions are exactly like those before. The borders are equally insecure, Pakistan and China continue to infiltrate. Inflation is skyrocketing. What is changing?”
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