A day after BJP MLC Prasad Lad said that when the time came, the BJP would ‘demolish’ the Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray shot back, saying, “Don’t threaten us, if we plant a tight slap, you’ll be sent reeling.” Thackeray made it amply clear to his party’s erstwhile ally BJP that the language of intimidation would not be tolerated and a befitting reply would be given.
Thackeray, who was speaking at the foundation-laying ceremony for the redevelopment of the BDD Chawls at Worli in south central Mumbai on Sunday, termed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government a ‘triple seat’ government comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, saying it was capable of weathering any crisis in the state.
The CM recalled a dialogue from the Hindi blockbuster ‘Dabangg’: “Thappad se dar nahi lagta (Not scared of being slapped).” He said, “Nobody should speak the language of slapping us, as we will retort with such a tight slap that the other person won’t be able to get back on his feet.”
Lad’s statement had evoked angry reactions from the Shiv Sena, which dared the BJP to try and demolish the Shiv Sena Bhavan at Dadar and rue the day. Later, Lad clarified, saying, “I have the highest regard for the late Bal Thackeray. The Sena Bhavan is a sacred abode associated with Balasaheb Thackeray. I didn’t mean to dishonour this place.”
Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the issue was over since Lad had clarified but went on to declare: “We don’t attack anyone but if someone attacks, we won’t spare them.”
NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, formerly from the Shiv Sena, took a swipe at Lad, saying some people had suddenly awoken to crack jokes.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut posted a cryptic tweet warning the MLC without naming him. Raut tweeted in Marathi, “Maharashtraat taatdiney nashamukti karyakram haati ghene garjeche aahe. Naahitar raajkiya gaanjadyaana Marathi Manoos Shiv Sena Bhavanachya footpathvar bedum choplyashivaay raahnaar naahi. (Samajhewaalon ko ishaara kaafi hai..) Shiv Sena Bhavan hey Marathi asmiteche jwalant prateek aahe. Baatgayaana hey kasey samaznaar? (There’s an urgent need for a drug de-addiction programme in Maharashtra. Otherwise, the Marathi Manoos on the footpath by the Shiv Sena Bhavan will not spare these drug addicts. The Shiv Sena Bhavan is a shining symbol of Marathi identity)”
Shiv Sena legislator Rajan Salvi criticised Lad and tweeted, “Those using the language of demolition of the Shiv Sena Bhavan will be given a befitting reply. Some BJP workers feel that touching the Shiv Sena Bhavan is as easy as touching the feet of Devendra Fadnavis. Shiv Sena Bhavan is a temple for us Shiv Sainiks and it houses the late Balasaheb Thackeray.”
State Congress chief Nana Patole attacked the BJP, saying Lad’s statement showed the saffron party’s tendency. “It is not the Congress party’s tendency, as it believes and works on the principles laid down by Mahatma Gandhi,” he noted.