Mumbai: In a no holds barred speech, Shiv Sena President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray not only led a scathing attack against the BJP but also spoke on a number of issues, including Hindutva, cow slaughter, coronavirus pandemic, GST regime’s flop show, Centre’s reluctance to clear states' dues and, above all, the BJP’s divisive game plan.
Thackeray, at the customary Dussehra rally, which took place in an auditorium with just 50 invitees and not at Shivaji Park, lashed out at the BJP and slammed Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who had questioned the Chief Minister’s stance on 'Hindutva' after he did not allow the reopening of temples amid the raging pandemic.
Taking a jibe at PM Modi and the Centre, Thackeray said his Hindutva is not about "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's. Your Hindutva is about clanging bells and utensils, our Hindutva is not like that," he said.
Thackeray spoke like a Shivsainik, while striking a balance in his capacity as a chief minister. Had Shiv Sena not been there when there were riots, people would have not been saved. Where were those propagating Hindutva at that time?" he asked. "You are questioning my Hindutva. So in Maharashtra, you want a ban on beef, but in Goa you are okay with it. Is this your Hindutva?," he further said.
Thackeray cited RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat as saying that "Hindutva is not linked only to pujas. So, people wearing black caps and questioning our beliefs and calling us 'secular' should listen to Bhagwat's Dussehra speech".
"People who believe and follow him ( Governor Koshyari), wear a black cap. If you have a brain beneath, at least follow him (Mohan Bhagwat) and his statements today," he noted. ‘’Bhagwat has said the meaning of Hindutva has been distorted by giving it a narrow ritualistic connotation,'' he said.
Thackeray also took a swipe at BJP's 'Operation Lotus' in the State. He challenged the party to "topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.'' "It has been a year now. From the day I became the chief minister, it is being said that the state government will be toppled. I dare you, if you have the courage, do it and show," he said. "If the BJP is only interested in overthrowing non-BJP governments and coming to power, then we can expect anarchy in the country," he added.
Thackeray also slammed the BJP for its poll promise of free vaccine in Bihar. "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 at the Centre," he reminded the party.
Thackeray spoke about the Bihar assembly election and wished Chief Minister Nitish Kumar good luck. At the same time, he reminded Nitish of BJP's duplicity. ''During Haryana elections, they [BJP] had said the next CM will be Kuldeep Singh Bishnoi; they had made a similar promise during Maharashtra elections. Now, in Bihar, they are insisting that Nitish will be the chief minister. The same Nitish who once wanted a 'Sangh-Mukt Bharat'."
Thackeray led a blistering attack on the BJP dispensation at the Centre for not paying compensation and GST dues worth Rs 38,000 crore to Maharashtra. ''GST has failed. I appeal to PM Modi to accept that GST has flopped and revert to the earlier regime,’’ he opined.
Speaking on the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and the allegations against Environment and Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, Uddhav said, "Those crying for justice for Bihar's son are indulging in character assassination of Maharashtra's son."
Responding to actor Kangana Renaut’s charges, Thackeray said, "This is the same police which has sacrificed its life to save you. How can you even say this? Likening Mumbai to POK is tantamount to insulting the prime minister. If there is a Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in India, isn't it a failure of Modi, then?"
“They are dividing the whole country. They cannot divide or break Mumbai or Maharashtra. We will not let that happen. There has to be some limit. Otherwise we will break you,” said Thackeray to his political opponents. He went on to add, “You want to break my government but let me inform you, save your government first. I appeal to the people of Bihar to open their eyes and vote.”