HomePoliticsPost-Dussehra rallies war of perception erupts as BJP says real Shiv Sena...

Post-Dussehra rallies war of perception erupts as BJP says real Shiv Sena with Eknath Shinde; Uddhav camp and allies claim Shinde read BJP’s ‘script’


Mumbai: The sabre-rattling between the rival Shiv Sena factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has now transformed itself into a war of perception, a day after their Dussehra rallies, with their respective allies spewed vitriol on each other.

The Congress slammed Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for “reading the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) script” at his address. The BJP on the other hand claimed that the unprecedented crowds at Shinde’s BKC rally conclusively proved that the ‘real’ Sena was the one led by the CM and not Uddhav Thackeray.

Speaking to newspersons in Pune, BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis remarked that despite the size of the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) grounds being twice the size of Dadar’s Shivaji Park (where Uddhav Thackeray held his rally), the gargantuan crowds which came from Mumbai city, the surrounding Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and other parts of Maharashtra resoundingly showed that the true Sena was the one led by Eknath Shinde.

Commenting upon Thackeray’s criticism of him and the accusation of the BJP having allegedly ‘stabbed’ the Shiv Sena during the latter’s address, the BJP leader remarked further remarked, “The Shiv Sena cadre have definitively shown that the ‘real’ Sena is one that is led by CM Eknath Shinde. I congratulate the CM…It is pointless to comment on Uddhav Thackeray’s speech as his address contained nothing but noise. He has levelled the same accusations so many times that we are tired of hearing it. He really ought to change his script writer.”

Rising to the defence of the Thackeray camp, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies – the Congress and the Nationalist Congress (NCP) – lashed out at CM Eknath Shinde’s speech and the BJP. Shiv Sena Lok Sabha MP Arvind Sawant remarked that “Eknath Shinde’s speech was written by Devendra Fadnavis.”

Given the number of times Eknath Shinde had to look at his speech and read, the Uddhav camp mocked the CM while claiming that their own rally at Shivaji Park “was the biggest in the history” of the Shiv Sena since its inception in 1966.

Uddhav loyalist, MP Arvind Sawant retorted, “We have surpassed our own previous records…Shivaji Park was overspilling with loyal Shiv Sainiks. It proved just how strong the Sena is under Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership.”

Commenting on the contrast between the two speeches, Sawant said that the CM had to keep reading from “a script fed to him by the BJP.”

“In stark contrast, everyone in Shivaji Park was eagerly listening to Uddhav Thackeray’s address with rapt attention. While in the BKC, people were seen slipping away from behind, leaving the venue before Eknath Shinde’s speech was over,” remarked Sawant.

Accusing the Shinde camp of having packed their audience by contract and filling the BKC with paid supporters, he demanded the BJP leadership and the Shinde camp to account for the allegedly “illicit cash transactions” that were made in order to crowd pack Shinde’s rally.

Arvind Sawant added, “I think the CM ought to come clear on how much cash his faction paid the State Transport Corporation to commandeer his paid ‘supporters’…furthermore, from where did the money for food for these people ‘on hire’ come from?”

Echoing Arvind Sawant’s contentions, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Nana Patole alleged that the Eknath Shinde faction had arranged for a paid crowd from different parts of the state at the BKC but that these people left without hearing Shinde’s speech.

Patole remarked, “The people of the State finally saw for themselves that the Chief Minister is a puppet of the BJP. Furthermore, Eknath Shinde cannot hide his sin of his own betrayal (revolt within the Sena) by blaming the Congress.”

The MPCC chief argued that the MVA government had been formed under Thackeray’s leadership for the benefit of the people of Maharashtra in a bid “to keep the communal BJP out of power.”

“Eknath Shinde, along with the 40 rebel MLAs were also until recently, part of the MVA. If the Congress’s support was so unwanted, then why didn’t they exit the MVA in 2019 itself? They talk about late Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology, but the same Balasaheb Thackeray had supported Congress candidates Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee for the post of President. Doesn’t Eknath Shinde know this?” remarked Nana Patole, accusing the CM of “bowing before the BJP for his own political ambitions.”


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