Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday targeted the BJP, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi wouldn't have come this far had Bal Thackeray not "saved" him when the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had asked him to follow "rajdharma".
He said Shiv Sena protected a political leadership for 25-30 years but they (BJP) didn't want Sena and also the Akali Dal- the erstwhile members of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
"I fell out with BJP but I never abandoned Hindutva. The BJP is not Hindutva. Uttar Bharatiyas want answers on what Hindutva is. Hating each other is not Hindutva," he told a gathering of north Indians in Mumbai.
Thackeray accused the BJP of creating a rift among Hindus
"For 25-30 years, Shiv Sena protected a political friendship. Hindutva meant warmth amongst us. They (BJP) didn't want anyone. They didn't want Akali Dal... Shiv Sena," he said.
"It was Balasaheb Thackeray who saved the current prime minister when Atalji (then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee) wanted him to honour 'Rajdharma'. But Balasaheb intervened saying it was the need of the hour. Had that not happened he (Modi) wouldn't have reached here," Thackeray said in an apparent reference to Vajpayee's remarks asking then Gujarat chief minister Modi to follow "rajdharma" after the 2002 communal riots.
He said the Shiv Sena founder never nurtured hatred. "Being Hindu never meant being Marathi and hating north Indians. Balasaheb was against those who were anti-India irrespective of their religion," he added.
Walked out of alliance to protect dignity: Uddhav Thackeray
Thackeray said he walked out of the alliance with BJP to protect his dignity and joined hands with the NCP and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) after the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls.
".....Otherwise I would have been a slave with a belt around my neck just like some of my people have now become," he said in an apparent reference to the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who belong to the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Thackeray said he becomes a victim of the smear campaign whenever he meets north Indians or Muslims and questioned are raised on his Hindutva.
Thackeray spoke on PM Modi's visit to Mumbai
"My meeting with you has been criticised. If I meet Muslims, it is said I have given up Hindutva. When PM Narendra Modi came to Mumbai two days back, whose kitchen did he go to? If I had done that I would have been called anti-Hindu.
"But if the prime minister does that then it is said he has a big heart. I want to make it clear we have nothing against the Bohra community. They are with us," he said.
During his latest visit to Mumbai, the prime minister inaugurated the new Marol campus of the Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah Arabic Academy, a prominent educational institution of the Bohra community, and said he had come there as a family member of the community.
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