Mumbai BJP President and MLA, Adv. Ashish Shelar, has launched a scathing critique of the Shiv Sena, accusing the party of making significant ideological shifts under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray. Shelar highlighted the transformation from the original “Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain” (Proudly say we are Hindus) slogan of Balasaheb Thackeray to “Garv se kaho hum Samajwadi hain” (Proudly say we are socialists) under Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership. He even went on to suggest that, in the future, the slogan might evolve to “Garv se kaho hum MIM hain,” referencing the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (MIM).
Shelar characterized these changes as attempts to unite a divided party with an array of ideologies, accusing Uddhav Thackeray of compromising on the original Hindutva ideology. He also pointed out Uddhav’s political choices, including his move to hold the chief ministerial position instead of appointing a Shiv Sainik as chief minister and his alignment with leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar. Shelar expressed concerns over Uddhav Thackeray’s stances on issues like the Ram Mandir and accused him of engaging in politics of appeasement.
Responding to criticism regarding the felicitation of Pakistani players, Shelar clarified that neither the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nor the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were responsible for the reception, as it was organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC). He also reminded Uddhav Thackeray of past instances, such as hosting Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad, who is related to underworld figure Dawood Ibrahim, at his residence and beautifying the tomb of Yakub Memon, a convicted terrorist, during his government’s tenure. Shelar concluded that those with a clean image had the right to question others and urged Uddhav Thackeray to refrain from raising inquiries.