Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday made a pitch for opposition unity in order to defeat the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and said an alternative would emerge on its own.
Addressing the Maha Vikas Aghadis (MVA) joint Vajramuth rally here, the former chief minister hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying its “addiction to power” was destroying the country.
“You just need to press the button (of EVM) to create a revolution. Freedom fighters and revolutionaries walked to the gallows to achieve freedom. They did not bother who will be the prime minister or the president. They laid down their lives for the people of the country and not to bring BJP to power,” he said.
“Why should you bother who will be the alternative? Someone will emerge…but we need to pledge that we will not allow a government which is unjust. ” he said, adding that PM Modi should tell people what he has done for the country during his tenure.
Thackeray said people should be aware of how religious issues are raked up to distract their attention from core issues.
Thackeray’s comments on alternatives to PM Modi and his government assumes significance as efforts for opposition unity are on. Congress general secretary K C Venugopal and Rahul Gandhi are likely to meet him in Mumbai soon.
The former CM also questioned the silence of PM Modi on the Hindenburg report on billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani and also the reported revelations of former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satyapal Malik. US-based Hindenburg Research has alleged stock manipulation and accounting fraud in firms belonging to Adani.
“If the Hindenburg report is not true, why are you shaken? Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified and now (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal might be arrested,” he said.
The MVA government in Maharashtra was running well, Thackeray said, adding that the BJP couldn’t wait for completion of the government’s term to make a bid for forming the next one.
The former CM also targeted the BJP, whose minister Chandrakant Patil recently said the Shiv Sena had nothing to do with the Ayodhya movement.
“When the Babri mosque was demolished, there was chaos in the BJP camp. But (Shiv Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray declared that if a Shivsainik was involved he was proud,” Thackeray said, and demanded to know if the Rashtriaya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) agreed with the views of Chandrakant Patil.
If Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was a real ram bhakt, he would have gone to Ayodhya and not Surat and Guwahati. Did Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis go to Ayodhya when he was chief minister? he asked.
Following his rebellion against Thackeray in June 2022, Shinde and his supporting MLAs had first gone to Surat in Gujarat and Guwahati in Assam before returning to Maharashtra.
Thackeray also justified his recent remark in which he dubbed Fadnavis as “worthless”, saying that even though he chooses his words carefully, he did use the term for the deputy CM as a woman member of his party was mercilessly attacked for a critical comment against the government on social media.
Thackeray said Union Home Minister Amit Shah is always critical of dynasties.
“But today he was in Mumbai to honour a dynasty working for the society,” he said referring to the Maharashtra Bhushan award presented to social worker Appasaheb Dharmadhikari.
Referring to the attendance of people in large numbers at the Vajramuth rally, Thackeray said the huge gathering shows that people were satisfied with the MVA rule, but still it was toppled through betrayal and back-stabbing, which is not tolerated in Maharashtra.
Thackeray also took a dig at the BJP, saying its Hindutva was “gomutra dhari”.
“After the Aurangabad rally of the MVA earlier this month, BJP sprinkled gomutra (cow urine) at the venue. Many Muslims attended that rally and even today many Muslims are attending. Arent they humans? I am being accused of giving up Hindutva because I joined hands with Congress. Are there no Hindus in Congress?” he asked.
Thackeray also asked whether it was okay when RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat goes to a mosque. Congress leader Sunil Kedar was the organiser of the rally.
Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who spoke on the occasion, said the country was at a stage where its prime minister misled people and refused to answer questions.
“Let’s take a pledge that we will not rest till he (PM) answers questions on Adani and Satyapal Malik’s reported revelations,” he said.
State Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Jayant Patil said the state government fears going to the people and hence it was delaying local body elections.
“If the government feels it is popular, it should hold elections,” he said.
In the last 10 months, the Shinde-led government has not brought a single new project to the state, he alleged.
State Congress chief Nana Patole said the BJP tried its best to ensure the MVA rally was not held in Nagpur.
The speakers at the rally targeted the state government, accusing it of failing to provide relief to farmers whose crops were damaged in the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorm.
Former CM Ashok Chavan did not attend the rally and he tweeted about his unavailability citing political engagements in Nanded, while senior Congress leader Nitin Raut, who hails from Nagpur, was conspicuous by his absence.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)