The two Senas of Maharashtra, led by estranged cousins Uddhav Thackeray and Raj Thackeray, are on the same page on the issue of expelling illegal Muslim migrants from India. Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have both expressed identical views over the central government’s repeated call for eviction of ‘Muslim infiltrators’.
After MNS chief Raj Thackeray declared his support to the Modi government over eviction of Bangladeshi and Pakistani infiltrators, fuelling speculations of him turning ‘saffron’, Shiv Sena has backed him saying Muslim infiltrators from these countries should be thrown out of India.
However, Sena has not missed the opportunity to take a dig on MNS for its ideological shift towards ‘Hindutva’ and said dealing with the Hindutva ideology as propagated by VD Savarkar and late party founder Balasaheb Thackeray was not child’s play. It also taunted him saying that having two flags showed his confused state of mind.
“The Muslim infiltrators from Pakistan and Bangladesh should be driven out of India. There should be no doubt about that. But it is amusing to see a party changing its flag for it,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
“Secondly, having two flags shows the confused state of mind. Raj Thackeray founded his party 14 years back on the issue of Marathi. But it appears to be turning towards Hindutva now,” it added.
Raj Thackeray on Thursday unveiled his party’s new flag which is saffron in colour and bears the ‘rajmudra’ (royal seal) used during the times of warrior King Shivaji. While addressing a rally later that day, he made it clear to his party workers that the new flag will not be used during elections.
“Dealing with the Hindutva of Savarkar and Balasaheb is not a child’s play. But we are large-hearted enough to welcome those who take a pro-Hindutva stand. Even if the ideology is borrowed, it is pro-Hindutva. Go ahead if you think you can do it,” the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said. It added the MNS is unlikely to achieve anything from its new Hindutva stand as Shiv Sena had never shed its saffron colour.
“The Shiv Sena had already done a lot of work on the issue of Marathi. Hence, MNS did not get any response from Marathi people. There is a criticism that Raj Thackeray has turned towards Hindutva as BJP wanted it. But MNS is unlikely to achieve anything on this front also as the Shiv Sena has done a lot work on Hindutva across the country,” it added.
“Shiv Sena formed the government in Maharashtra with Congress and NCP. This doesn’t mean that the party has given up on its ideology. More than criticism, there is heartburn. BJP can join hands with anybody, including Mehbooba Mufti, but if others take a similar political move, it becomes a sin!
“Although the ideologies of the three parties (NCP-Sena and Congress) are different, there is a consensus among them that the government will be run for the welfare of the people. What the BJP could not do in five years, the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had achieved in 50 days,” it said.
Hitting out at the MNS chief for stating that the Shiv Sena had changed its colour to become part of the government, the party said such comments show the “political bankruptcy”. “Those who say this should check the masks and multi-coloured make up on their own faces,” it said.
“BJP changed its colour in 2014 and 2019. Now, since Shiv Sena is not going to change despite being in alliance with Congress and NCP, a conspiracy has been hatched to divide the Hindutva votes,” the saffron party alleged.
“Raj Thackeray has now backed the CAA and will take out a march in its support. But a month ago, he had a taken different stand. He had then said that the new law is a move to divert people’s attention from important issues like economic slowdown,” it said.
During his speech on Thursday, Raj Thackeray had defended the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and also announced that the MNS would take out a protest march on February 9 seeking eviction of illegal migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
(With inputs from agencies)