Uddhav's Thane visit is being seen by many as an attempt to rebuild the party after many of its leaders joined the rival Shinde camp last year. File photo

Betrayal, defections defamed Maharashtra, Sena: Uddhav

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said Shiv Sena and Maharashtra have been defamed due to “betrayal and defections”, a reference to party rebel Eknath Shinde and 39 MLAs bringing down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government last year.

‘Real Sainiks with us’

Addressing a public gathering in Sena stronghold of Thane, Uddhav said, “I am satisfied that despite the present foul situation, the Shiv Sena has not moved away from its goal. I am proud of it. The Shiv Sena supremo (Bal Thackeray) has taught us that 80 per cent is social work and only 20 per cent political work. The real Sainiks are with us,” he said.

Those who left preferred to sell themselves, Thackeray said, with the crowd shouting “Rs 50 crore” when he asked them if they knew what was the sale price. Thackeray said slogans centred around Rs 50 crore (taunting the Shinde camp leaders) were being heard even in the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, he claimed. He added that a video of this was shown to him by his Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.

Also read: Maharashtra civic polls: Big setback for Uddhav after Shinde breakaway

‘Don’t mourn those who left’

“These slogans have travelled across the country. But in the process, Maharashtra has been defamed as well as the Shiv Sena. There is no need to mourn for those who have left because the real Sainiks will light the mashaal (party symbol of Thackerays faction),” he asserted.

Earlier, Uddhav inaugurated a medical camp in Thane on the eve of the birth anniversary of late Anand Dighe, a hugely popular politician considered the mentor of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Dighe’s massive popularity made Thane one of the safest seats of the undivided Sena but Shinde’s rebellion last June led to a vast majority of the rank and file in the region moving to the latter’s Shiv Sena faction.

Bid to rebuild Sena in Thane

Thackeray’s visit as well as the mega medical camp organised to commemorate Dighe’s anniversary, which falls on Friday, are being seen as an attempt to rebuild the Shiv Sena (UBT) in Thane. He also paid floral tribute to Dighe at Anand Math, the de facto centre of the Sena movement in Thane for decades now.

Speaking on the occasion, Thackeray said Thursday’s visit was a brief one to take care of the “health of citizens here” but promised he would return to address a mass gathering to take care of the “political health of Thanekars”. Thane Lok Sabha MP Rajan Vichare and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Jitendra Awhad accompanied Thackeray.

Later, addressing a function at a Jain Temple, Uddhav said he had been introduced by one of the earlier speakers as an “athithi” (guest) but he wanted to reiterate he was one of them.

(With Agency inputs)

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