‘Betrayed’ Uddhav Thackeray refuses to go gently into the good night
- Uddhav Thackeray said he will make his own Shiv Sena if rebels quit
- “BJP treated us badly, did not honour promises,” said Thackeray
- Eknath Shinde is said to have gained support of nearly 40 Shiv Sena MLAs
Uddhav Thackeray, son of the iconic Balasaheb, fighting a rebellion that seeks to end his hold over the Shiv Sena, refuses to go quietly into the good night. The Shiv Sena has been “betrayed by its own people”, Uddhav Thackeray, 61, said while speaking to party workers over a virtual meeting Friday night. Eknath Shinde, a Shiv Sena MLA, has launched a rebellion which has put the Maha Vikas Aghadi government at risk.
Thackeray, who has made his attempts to placate the rebels by offering to resign, has now sounded a defiant note. Speaking to Shiv Sena workers, Thackeray said the party workers were his “wealth” and he did not care for any criticism coming his way.
Talking about the rebels who have shown support to Eknath Shinde, Thackeray said, “We gave these rebels tickets to contest assembly elections despite many of you being aspirants for the same. These people are disgruntled after getting elected owing to you hard work, and you are standing by the party in this crucial time.”
On Shinde, the Shiv Sena president said, “I had told Eknath Shinde to look into complaints regarding alliance partners. He told me that legislators were pressurising him that the Sena should join hands with the BJP. I told him to bring these MLAs to me, let’s discuss this.”
“BJP treated us badly, didn’t honour promises. Many of the rebels have cases filed against them. So, if they go with BJP, they will become clean, if they stayed with us, they will go to jail. Is this a sign of friendship?” asked Thackeray.
Shinde, the 58-year-old legislator who orchestrated cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha polls and then launched a rebellion against his party, has maintained that he doesn’t want to split the Sena but wants his party to ally with the BJP and run the Maharashtra government. He has said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi, an alliance of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress is an “unnatural” alliance.
On Saturday morning, Shinde alleged that the security details of him and 16 other legislators had been pared down. He called it “political vendetta” and said the government is responsible for protecting the rebel legislators and their families. Shiv Sena MP and national spokesperson Sanjay Raut, who is also the editor of party mouthpiece Saamana, has denied the allegation.
Meanwhile, in a sarcasm-laden editorial published Saturday in Saamana, Eknath Shinde and his group of rebels have been cast as conducting a “yoga camp” in Assam’s Guwahati. “We are being introduced anew to the self-respect of Hindutva. What proof of teaching a lesson to Pakistan was shown at the yoga shivir? Pakistan’s infiltration continues in Kashmir and Hindu Pandits are being killed.”
“Hindus have to flee Kashmir during the rule of the BJP, which claims to be a Hindutva government. Is this your superpower?” asked the editorial. Saamana has, in no uncertain words, accused the BJP of engineering the rebellion in Shiv Sena ranks by threatening MLAs with action by central agencies.