Last Updated: March 06, 2023, 16:59 IST
In his first public rally after losing the party name and symbol, Uddhav Thackeray slammed the Election Commission, BJP and Shinde faction.
Freedom was not attained by sprinkling ‘gaumutra’, he said, hitting out at the BJP. “Did our country attain Independence by sprinkling cow urine? Did it happen that cow urine was sprinkled and we got freedom? This was not the case. Freedom fighters sacrificed their lives and then we got Independence,” he said at the massive rally.
Challenging the Election Commission over its decision to hand over the party name and symbol to Eknath Shinde, he said he will never accept the move.
“You can steal the Shiv Sena symbol and party name but you cannot steal the party. I want to send a message across to all those who have left. I want to especially tell the Election Commission that if you don’t have cataract in your eye, then please come and see what Shiv Sena is. This is ‘Chuna Lagao Aayog’. They are not fit to stay as Election Commission as they are slaves of the Centre,” he said.
Thackeray added: “The basis on which they have claimed that the Shiv Sena belongs to them is wrong. I can say that because the Shiv Sena was formed by my father and not by the Election Commission.”
The former chief minister said the EC was not trying to break the Sena but “you are trying to break the unity of the Marathi manoos, of the Hindus”.
Hitting out at the BJP, he said: “Even a dog did not know about the BJP. That was the time when Balasaheb Thackeray stood behind them. They are behaving so ruthlessly now. Finish those people first who supported you once, I dare you to try it. We don’t accept the decision of the Election Commission. I will continue to call this the Shiv Sena.”
‘Don’t steal my father’
Addressing his supporters, Thackeray said: “Sardar Patel banned RSS, they stole the name of Sardar Patel. Similarly, they stole Subhas Chandra Bose and did the same with Balasaheb Thackeray. I challenge them to ask for votes in PM Narendra Modi’s name and not in the name of Shiv Sena. Ask for votes without Balasaheb Thackeray’s photo.”
He added: “People will have to decide whether they want me or Eknath Shinde. I will accept the verdict of the people but not of the EC. If people say they don’t want me, I will leave just like I had left ‘Varsha’ (the official residence of Maharashtra chief minister after resigning from the post).”
Thackeray said earlier, the BJP’s dais would be full of ‘sadhus and sants’ but now “it is full of opportunists”. “I dare the BJP to seek votes in Maharashtra only in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and not Balasaheb Thackeray,” he said. He added that he has signed on the letter written by nine opposition party leaders to the prime minister about concerns over the misuse of central agencies.
The BJP, meanwhile, hit back at Thackeray, claiming it was an effort to appease the minority communities. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis downplayed the rally, saying Thackeray hadn’t spoken a single new word.
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