Shiv Sena's annual Dussehra rally in Mumbai is known for the firebrand speeches and the headlines it makes. This year’s Dussehra rally was no different! Although the rally went online due to COVID-19, it did not lose its very character.
Speech made by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in the Dussehra rally touched upon several of allegations made against his party. Here are five takeaways from his address:
Shiv Sena's Hindutva and Maharashtra Goveror:
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had questioned the Chief Minister’s stance on 'Hindutva' after he did not allow the reopening of temples in the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Thackeray had written an answered the criticism in a letter. Now at the rally also he slammed the governor for his remarks.
Citing RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's speech in Nagpur earlier in the day, Thackeray said, "the RSS chief said Hindutva has been narrowed down to only observing puja rituals."
"Those who wear a black cap like him should understand this if they have brains," Thackeray said, in a veiled attack on Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on his remarks over Hindutva while asking for reopening places of religious worship.
"I have no happiness in shutting down places. Lifting of restrictions is being done cautiously and gradually," he said.
Taking a jibe at PM Modi and the Centre, Uddhav on Sunday said his Hindutva is not "clanging bells and utensils". "We are being asked about Hindutva. Why? Because temples are not being opened. They say my Hindutva is different from that of Balasaheb Thackeray. Your Hindutva is about clanging bells and utensils, our Hindutva is not like that," he said.
"Had Shiv Sena not been there when there were riots people would have not been saved. Where were those propagating Hindutva at that time?" Uddhav asked. "You are questioning my Hindutva when cow slaughter is banned in Maharashtra but isn't banned in Goa," he further said.
Free vaccines in Bihar:
Slamming the BJP for including the promise of free COVID-19 vaccines for all residents of Bihar in its election manifesto, Thackeray stated, "You are talking about giving free vaccines in Bihar. Is the rest of the country Pakistan or Bangladesh? Those speaking like that should be ashamed of themselves. You are in the centre."
MVA government and BJP's 'Operation Lotus':
The Sena chief said that while the country was battling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic the BJP was only interested in toppling elected governments in various states.
"A peculiar this is happening around the country, around the country COVID-19 has impacted the economy but the government's focus is on toppling governments in other states. BJP is inviting anarchy by doing so," Thackeray said.
"It has been a year now. From the day I became the CM, it was being said that the state government will be toppled. I challenge and say that if you have the courage, do it and show," he added.
Death of Sushant Singh Rajput:
Speaking on the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput and the allegations against Environment and Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, Uddhav said, "Those crying for justice for Bihar's son indulging in character assassination of Maharashtra's son."
GST and centre:
In a significant statement, on the ongoing row over Goods and Services Tax (GST), Thackeray said that if the system of GST has failed, then the Centre should honestly admit it and revert to the old system of taxation in the country.
Addressing the party's annual Dassehra Rally, Thackeray said that Maharashtra has not been refunded its Goods & Service Tax (GST) dues of Rs.38,000 crore which has created huge financial crises for the state in the Corona pandemic times.
"From all this, it appears that the GST system is proving a hoax It is time to review the present form of GST as the states are not benefiting If it is not working, the Prime Minister should honestly admit it and bring back the old system of taxation," Thackeray said.
Referring to similar problems faced by other states, Thackeray said the country is not of one party and urged Chief Ministers of states to join together, meet the PM to discuss and sort out the issues.
This year’s Dussehra rally was significant because this is the first time a Sena chief is also the Maharashtra Chief Minister. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rally which is traditionally held at the Shivaji Park ground was held at Swatantryaveer Savarkar auditorium opposite the ground at Dadar.
(With inputs from agencies)