Without naming his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday launched a scathing attack on him, stating that it must be found out who betrayed the people's mandate, Bal Thackeray's ideology and an ally of 25 years.
He was replying to the opposition-sponsored last week's debate in the legislative assembly.
I don't claim your property: Shinde
"For the last one year, we have been termed "khoke" and "gaddar". It is time to settle this once and for all. People who accuse us of being `gaddar' and `khoke,' wrote to us, asking us to return Rs 50 crore. I have instructed that it should be returned. I don't claim your property. My property is the ideology of Balasaheb Thackeray," Shinde said.
He was apparently referring to a dispute over party funds after he split the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena last June.
"It is time to find out who is Maharashtra's `maha gaddar' (big traitor)," he added.
Shiv Sena UBT's 'Khoke' and 'Gaddar' jibes against rebels
After Shinde split the Sena and toppled the Uddhav Thackeray-led government, the Thackeray faction accused the rebels of having received `khoke' or cartons of money and being `traitors'. The Shinde group, in turn, accused Thackeray of betraying his father's ideology and the old ally BJP by joining hands with the NCP and Congress.
The chief minister also said that the opposition was a confused lot and failed to provide constructive criticism during the Monsoon session.
Irregularities committed during the COVID-19 pandemic will not be overlooked and the guilty will be punished, Shinde said, adding that the Enforcement Directorate was probing how old oxygen plants were used because of which "patients lost their eyes" (due to resultant fungal infection) and body bags which cost Rs 300 were sold for Rs 6,000.
During the Maha Vikas Aghadi government (led by Thackeray), the level of education, ideology, economic investment fell and jibes were in abundance, he said.
"We are rectifying what was lost," he said.
His was a government of like-minded parties with a strong support of the Centre, Shinde said, adding that from 170, "our number in the assembly is now 215." Ajit Pawar-led NCP faction joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government last month.
India has become the fifth biggest economy, rising from the tenth position, and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming for the third position, Shinde said.
During the MVA rule, Maharashtra had slipped to the third position in the country behind Karnataka and Gujarat, but his government got Rs 1.17 lakh crore-worth investment and the state's top position was restored, he said.