Mumbai : In a veiled warning, Shiv Sena party president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday stopped short of threatening to snap ties with its alliance partner but drew a red line and said that the onus is on the BJP to keep its sensibilities in mind.
So, even as Uddhav made it clear that they do not mind sharing the electoral space with the BJP, he made it clear that the BJP could not ride roughshod over its ‘self-respect.’ “We would like the alliance to continue. But we won’t compromise on our self-respect for that,” Thackeray declared as he addressed party workers at the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Shiv Sena at Goregaon.
When Thackeray raised the issue of BMC elections, predictably it elicited an emphatic response from the crowd. “No alliance, let us contest alone” was the chorus, to which Sena president replied by assuring that he would not go against the popular mandate. “But we should be prepared to go alone and win on our own,” Thackeray said by way of caution. The Sena chief also came down heavily on the union government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The claim of the government that the nation has transformed is a deception,” he said.
Referring to the debate over holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, Thackeray took a sarcastic swipe at the frequent foreign visits of PM Modi and said it would be better if simultaneous polls are held, or else it might create impediments in somebody’s foreign visits.
Commenting on the recent reports of exodus from Kairana in UP, he reminded the BJP that it was in power. In Kashmir, too, it is now in alliance; so, the Centre must answer what it has done to facilitate the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their home and hearth.
Lashing out at NCP president Sharad Pawar for advising Sena to walk out of the government, he said that it was the NCP which, in order to avert a split, had clung to power for the last 15 years.
Clarifying that he is inclined to give credit where it is due, Uddhav said that he has praised Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for his leadership. But drawing attention to the rising prices of pulses, he wanted the Chief Minister to given some relief to the common man, if not the avowed Achche Din.
Taking on critics for terming Sena as regional, communal and parochial, Uddhav pointed out that even Mamta Banerjee’s speeches are couched in regionalism when she reaches out to Ma, Matti and Manoosh.
Referring to the 50 years of Sena’s journey, Uddhav said 25 years of it went in stitching together an alliance with the BJP. Referring to the BJPs Make in India lion mascot, he remarked that a lion always moves with pride, but a tiger hunts alone.