Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has lashed out at rebel MLA and now Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, comparing him to a “rotten leaf” in an interview to party mouthpiece Saamana. He also challenged the rebel faction to contest elections on its own instead of banking on the legacy of his father and Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray.
The former Maharashtra chief minister called for fresh elections, and the need for a law where parties declare their alliances, arrangements and agreements before the elections so that people are aware of what they are voting for.
“The rotten leaves always fall and right now this is what is happening. This was bound to happen so let it be. New leaves will come up and the tree (read, the Shiv Sena) will be green again,” Uddhav told Sena MP and Saamana executive editor Sanjay Raut in the interview.
The first part of the two-part interview was put up on Saamana’s online page Tuesday morning. The second part will be released Wednesday.
Uddhav resigned on 29 June after a nearly fortnight-long drama that saw Shinde lead about 40 MLAs of the Shiv Sena and some Independent legislators to revolt against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
The battle now is in the Supreme Court where both Shinde and Uddhav factions are claiming to be the real Shiv Sena. On 1 August, the apex court will hear Uddhav faction’s plea against the Election Commission proceedings on request of the Shinde faction for recognition as the ‘real’ Shiv Sena.
‘BJP trying to finish Sena’
Among other things, Uddhav sought to call out former ally BJP for plotting to finish off the Shiv Sena. He also accused the BJP of not honouring the pact on sharing the chief minister’s chair that he claimed was decided during discussions on their pre-poll alliance in Maharashtra.
The break-up of the Sena-BJP alliance has been cited by the rebel MLAs as one of their major grievances.
Had the BJP kept its word, nobody would have had to go on a countrywide tour, Uddhav said in an apparent reference to how the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs were shifted to Gujarat, Assam and Goa.
Money would have been saved, and the BJP would have got its chance at the CM post for two and a half years, he said.
“But they wanted to finish off the Shiv Sena. But I am not worried about myself or the Shiv Sena, as it bounced back strongly each time anyone tried to finish it off,” he added.
“What I am worried about is they are trying to erase Balasaheb’s work of uniting Hindus and Marathi manoos, and they are doing so by using his people.
“Their plan is to foster infighting and finish off the Shiv Sena. Once the work is done, put the dead leaves in a bin and throw them away.”
Uddhav threw down the gauntlet to the Sena rebels to fight the elections on their own.
“I challenge them to break the Thackeray-Sena ties. Don’t use the photo of my father while doing so. Don’t steal my father’s legacy. Use the blessings of your parents. Why steal mine?” he said. “Which means you have no calibre, no courage. You are not a man of your words. You deceived us. Why use Balasaheb’s name and confuse people? Go ahead, be on your own and fight. Stop begging for votes using images of the Shiv Sena patriarch.”
Without naming Shinde, Uddhav accused the Maharashtra Chief Minister of plotting against him and the Shiv Sena while he was undergoing surgery and later recuperating.
“This pain will stay with me for the rest of my life. When I gave him the mantle to take care of the party, and made him the number two, he deceived me. While I couldn’t move because of the surgery and complications post-surgery, they (rebels) were moving swiftly against the party.”
Uddhav said that a blood clot post surgery left him numb below the neck. “At that time, I heard that some people were praying that I get better while some were praying otherwise. Those people are now trying to destroy the party.”
Uddhav also said that he made Shinde the leader of opposition in 2014 when the Shiv Sena won 63 seats after contesting the assembly polls separately from the BJP.
“I gave him every opportunity, trusted him blindly, and even gave him the urban development ministry, which generally stays with the CM… But it was my mistake to blindly trust him. I accept that I considered them (the rebels) my family and trusted blindly. Had I made him the CM then, he would have asked for something more because his hunger is not satisfied.
“He wanted the CM post and now wants to be the Sena chief. Now he has started comparing himself to the Sena chief. This is demon-like ambition. It is greed that wants to gobble up everything,” Uddhav added.
(Edited by Tony Rai)
Source: The Print