Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that while even neighbouring Pakistan would probably admit as to who the ‘real’ Shiv Sena was, the ‘fact’ eluded the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Addressing a massive rally of his Sena faction in Pachora in Jalgaon district (in north Maharashtra), Mr. Thackeray, while targeting the ruling Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dispensation, lashed out at the ECI for awarding the party the`bow and arrow’ symbol to the ‘rebel’ Shinde faction.
“Looking at the humungous crowd gathered here [in Pachora], even Pakistan will admit who the ‘real’ Sena is…but our ECI, blind as Dhritarashtra [alluding to the Kaurava king in the Mahabharata], cannot see this,” said the former Chief Minister of the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
He further said that with the Supreme Court’s decision (on the disqualification petition of 16 Shinde camp ‘rebel’ MLAs) hanging fire, the BJP was constantly on the look-out to try and split the remaining Shiv Sena (UBT), the NCP and the Congress if the court’s verdict went against them.
Daring the Shinde-BJP government to contest election now, Mr. Thackeray exhorted the Shiv Sainik cadre to “avenge the defamation of Shiv Sena” done by CM Eknath Shinde.
“If you’ll [Shinde Sena-BJP] really have the courage, then I dare you to hold election right now. You [ruling parties] seek votes using PM Modi’s name while I ask votes in the name of my father [late Sena founder Bal Thackeray]. Let us see who Maharashtra elects,” said the Sena (UBT) chief, adding that he did not crave for sympathy but wanted his Shiv Sainiks to take “revenge“ on the Sena ‘rebels‘.
Dubbing the Shinde-BJP regime an “unseasonal government”, Mr. Thackeray, commenting on Mr. Shinde’s revolt, said: “The ones who were elected [40 MLAs of Shinde faction] have turned traitors. But the ones who elected them [Sena cadre] are still with me…we must wash away this stain of betrayal.”
Hitting out at Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah for reportedly deploying Central agencies and harassing Opposition leaders, Mr. Thackeray dared the BJP to arrest all Sena (UBT) leaders, remarking that they would stage a ‘jail bharo’ for the benefit of the ruling party.
“The ED and the CBI have been harassing all those who are loyal to me. Will you [BJP] arrest all of us? We will do a jail bharo once and for all. You can file cases against us later,” Mr. Thackeray said, remarking that the BJP’s harassment was an example of ‘unmanly behaviour’.
He said that the BJP itself was not a challenge, but to recompense the “damage” that the ruling party was doing in the State and at the Centre, was one.
“Enough of this ab ki baar government [alluding to the Modi government]. It is time to upturn this [BJP] government. It has no answer to [former Jammu & Kashmir Governor] Satya Palik’s accusations on the 2019 Pulwama terror attack. Are we to expend soldiers’ lives for the sake of the BJP winning elections,” said Mr. Thackeray.
This was Mr. Thackeray’s third rally of his party following the ones in Khed and Malegaon. Jalgaon is considered a stronghold of Shinde camp Minister Gulabrao Patil.
“Enough of this ab ki baar government ”Uddhav ThackerayShiv Sena (UBT) chief