BJP Uses Hindutva For Political Convenience: Maharashtra CM

BJP Uses Hindutva For Political Convenience: Maharashtra CM
Image source: PTI

Taking a fresh jibe at its old ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray said that his party has “wasted 25 years because of its political alliance” with the former. The chief minister of Maharashtra claimed that the ruling party in the Centre has been using Hindutva for its political convenience. “Shiv Sena had aligned with BJP as it wanted power for Hindutva. Sena never used Hindutva for the sake of power,” said Thackeray.

The Maharashtra CM was virtually addressing party cadres on the birth anniversary of his father and Shiv Sena patriarch, the late Bal Thackeray. This was the leader’s first public appearance after a spine related surgery in November last year. Uddhav Thackeray reiterated an earlier statement and said, “I still maintain that. Why did we step aside from them? Today, the hollow Hindutva they display is nothing but a charade for power. It is unfortunate that we nurtured them for 25 years.” He continued, “(Home Minister) Amit Shah came to Pune and challenged us to contest alone. We have accepted that challenge in the Dussehra rally. If you have the courage, contest on strength of workers. Merely challenging us and putting ED (Enforcement Directorate) and other agencies behind us is not courage.”

Claiming that the BJP has been an advocate for “use-and-throw” politics, the former alliance chief said, “We will not give up Hindutva. We have broken our alliance with the BJP but not with Hindutva. BJP is not Hindutva. But Balasaheb told the BJP, you take care of the country, we take care of Maharashtra. But they are the ones who betrayed us and were trying to wipe us out. We fed them for so many years and after they won, they have adopted use-and-throw policy.”

Targeting the BJP, he further added, “Creating an environment of slavery like the Britishers is not Hindutva. True Hindus will never allow it to happen. If we sit quiet today, then the situation is that slavery will come back again. Those who were against the Emergency are creating Emergency-like environment in the country. To break this, the Shiv Sainiks must come forward.”

Urging party cadres to expand the reach of Shiv Sena, Thackeray said, “In the recently held local bodies’ polls, if we look at the number of seats, we are at number four. But we have got more seats than what we won when we were in alliance. We are not contesting these elections as seriously as we contest the Lok Sabha and assembly polls. Do our leaders, ministers, district chiefs pay attention to these elections like the BJP, the NCP and the Congress? The senior leaders (of the opposition and alliance partners) come down to campaign for their candidates. This does not happen in our party. No leader, including me, pay attention to these. But it should be avoided from now on. There are no traitors but definitely, it is being neglected.”

In the recent nagar panchayat elections, the BJP clinched the majority by winning 419 out of 1,791 seats, followed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with 381 seats. Urging its cadre to work on winning each election, the Shiv Sena party chief said, “From now on, in every election, be it for a bank, the local bodies or any other elections… all have to be fought to win. This should be our purpose.”

NCP’s chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Everyone should be proud of their religion, but it is harmful if there is hatred against others.” He added, “The Shiv Sena is trying to say the same thing that one must be proud of their religion and propagate it, but it is wrong to spread hatred against others. We think Uddhav Thackeray ji has said the same thing.”

Noting that seeking vote in the name of religion is a clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct instituted by the Election Commission of India, Malik added, “Since the last seven-eight years, the Election Commission has been mum when votes are being canvassed in the name of religion. This is the helplessness of the Election Commission. We feel the poll body should think about it or else it will lose its credibility.”

 

Read more: UP Polls 2022: Samajwadi Party Patriarch’s Daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav Joins BJP

 

The BJP has hit back at the Shiv Sena, claiming that its former ally has “selective memory”. Former Maharashtra CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said, “Shiv Sena has selective memory. The Shiv Sena was not even born when BJP had its members in the Mumbai civic body. In the 1984 election, their party candidate contested on a BJP ticket.” He continued, “Where were you in the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign? We took the bullets and the lathis. Today the Ram temple is being built at Ayodhya under the leadership of PM Modi.”

The war of words between the parties holds significance with elections across 14 municipal corporations and 26 zilla parishads due to be held next month. Directing party workers to get hold of the local sectors, Shiv Sena supremo said, “The work should be carried out through institutions in the villages, districts and talukas. What are you doing in the Cooperative sector? What are we doing to create new organisations? Why don’t you do institutional work? The power should be used for the works having a far-reaching impact. We have to seize this golden opportunity (Sena leading the MVA government) now.”

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