Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday asserted that he might have broken alliance with the long-time ally Bhartiya Janta Party and joined ranks with Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, but his Hindutva ideology is still intact.
"I have parted ways with the BJP, not with Hindutva. The BJP doesn’t represent Hindutva. Hindutva is a different thing and I have not parted ways with it,” said the Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena chief who was in Ayodhya to commemorate 100 days in office.
He also announced Rs 1 crore help for the proposed Ram Temple.
Thackeray arrived in the temple town Saturday afternoon along with his wife and son Aaditya for the first time after becoming Chief Minister November last year, following a squabble over power-sharing with the BJP which led to their break-up.
Later, he formed the government forging a unique alliance with arch rivals Congress and NCP.
Thackeray, who was flanked with his son and environment minister Aditya Thackeray and party’s member of parliament, said about his visit to the city, “I am here to seek the blessings of Ram Lalla. Our 18 members of parliament are also here with me to pay homage to the deity.”
"The last time I came here in November 2018 when things about the Ram temple were in a flux. Then I came In November 2019, the (Supreme) Court gave a historic decision and I became the Chief Minister. I have come here for a third time. Whenever I come here it brings good news to me," Thackeray said speaking to media.
He promised to come to Ayodhya again and again.
He was scheduled to perform an aarti, however, it was cancelled due to concerns over the coronavirus.
“With all humbleness, we would give Rs 1 crore for the construction of the Lord Ram Temple. This is not from the government coffers, but from our own trust,” Thackeray said.
He also demanded a piece of land from Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to establish Maharashtra Bhavan in Ayodhya for devotees of his state.
The Thackerays returned to Lucknow after taking darshan of the deity from where they will fly to Mumbai in the night.
Before the much-hyped visit, Shiv Sena had launched a veiled attack on BJP through its mouthpiece 'Saamna'. The newspaper’s editorial said that Lord Ram and Hindutva is not the sole property of any political party.
“Uddhav’s Ayodhya visit must be welcomed as he is offering flowers of works done by his government in 100 days at the Lord Ram’s feet,” the Saamna wrote early this week. Uddhav’s wife Rashmi is the managing editor of the Marathi daily now, a post which was earlier held by Uddhav.
Hours before arrival of Uddhav Thackeray, the Ayodhya administration put three prominent Hindu seers under house arrest for threatening to greet the CM with black flag, said police.
“Mahant Raju Das of Hanumangarhi Temple, Mahant Paramhans Das of Tapaswi Chhawni Temple and Rakesh Dutt Mishra, the president of Hindu Mahasabha were kept under house arrest," said Ayodhya Senior Superintendent of police Ashish Tiwari.
The seers had threatened to greet Thackeray with black flag saying that he has formed government in Maharashtra with the help of those who had dubbed Lord Ram as an imaginary figure.
Several seers raised the demand to wash the entire temple premises with 'Ganga jal' to purify the premises.
It may be recalled that in the year 2007, the then Union government led by the Congress had to withdraw from the Supreme Court its two affidavits, including the controversial one filed by the ASI claiming there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish existence of Lord Ram and Rama Setu as a man-made bridge.