Mumbai: Lashing out at the Election Commission of India (ECI), Shiv Sena (UBT) chief and former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that the ECI’s decision to award the Shiv Sena name and party’s Bow and Arrow symbol to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s rival faction was “unacceptable” and accused the ECI of being “a slave to power” and taking their orders from above.
Addressing a mega-rally after losing the party name and symbol in Khed in Konkan’s Ratnagiri district, Thackeray targeted the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena. The Marathi Muslim Seva Samiti (MMSS) had issued a letter making an ardent appeal to Muslims to participate in large numbers in Uddhav Thackeray’s rally.
An angry Uddhav Thackeray thundered, “The ECI’s decision is not acceptable to us… They may award party name and symbol to Eknath Shinde group, but cannot give the party, which was established by my father (late Balasaheb Thackeray) to them. We will not allow them to do so. This Commission is a slave to power, they act according to orders from above (BJP-led Centre) and do not deserve to be called the ECI.”
He further added that it was his father – the late Balasaheb Thackeray and “not the ECI commissioner’s father who had founded the Shiv Sena.”
Alluding to the massive gathering at his rally, Uddhav Thackeray said that if the ECI’s eyes are “not clouded by cataract,” then the Commission’s authorities could come to Khed and see for themselves who the ‘real’ Shiv Sena was.
Targeting the BJP for “behaving cruelly” with the Shiv Sena despite all that Balasaheb Thackeray had done for the former in the past, Uddhav Thackeray said that in breaking the Shiv Sena, the BJP had wounded the Marathi-speaking populace and the Hindu community in general.
“When nobody used to ask of you (BJP), it was the head of the Shiv Sena (Balasaheb Thackeray) who had stood by them…it was Balasaheb who had helped the BJP establish ‘Hindutva’. And yet, this is how they behaved with us,” said Uddhav Thackeray.
Questioning the BJP’s “breathtaking hypocrisy” when Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused Uddhav Thackeray of dallying with the Congress and the NCP, Uddhav Thackeray questioned how the BJP, which had labelled Meghalaya’s National People’s Party (NPP) as “most corrupt”, could now conveniently form a government with NPP leader Conrad Sangma.
Uddhav Thackeray, who was among the signatories to a letter that opposition leaders including NCP chief Sharad Pawar had written to PM Narendra Modi regarding the harassment of non-BJP leaders by central agencies, said that even if the PM chose to ignore the contents of the letter, it expressed what was uppermost in the public mind today.
Turning his ire on the Shinde faction, Uddhav Thackeray questioned who were they to teach him and his faction about the ideals that his father (Balasaheb Thackeray) had preached.
“They (Shinde group MLAs), whose careers have blossomed only in the last 10-15 years have the audacity to teach me about the ideals upheld by my father,” remarked Uddhav Thackeray.