Principles are important irrespective of venue, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said on Monday in a dig at his rival and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, and asserted his faction’s Dussehra rally will be a grand success.
Shinde also visited the MMRDA ground at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), the venue of the rally in suburban Mumbai, and took stock of the preparations for the October 5 event.
He said the preparations for the rally are on in full swing at the sprawling ground, located close to “Matoshree”, the private residence of the Thackeray family in suburban Bandra.
Both Uddhav Thackeray and Shinde-led camps claim their faction to be the “real” Shiv Sena and the former CM will address his faction’s own rally on the same day at the iconic Shivaji Park in central Mumbai.
The Shinde camp, too, had applied for allotment of the Shivaji Park for its rally, but the Bombay High Court allowed the Thackeray faction to hold its annual programme at the venue when the matter landed in the HC.
The annual Dussehra rally is a Shiv Sena tradition since its inception in 1966.
I have visited the venue (in BKC) and the preparations are in full swing. Lakhs of people from across the state will come to the rally and all departments are working to ensure they don’t face any problem. Our preparations will get over tomorrow (Tuesday) and this rally will be a success,” Shinde told news channel NDTV
The chief minister said his faction of the Shiv Sena is taking forward the ideals propounded by party founder late Balasaheb Thackeray
Principles are important irrespective of venue. We are taking forward the ideas of Balasaheb Thackeray. Looking at the response, the people have accepted our decision (to part ways with the Thackerays for aligning with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress), he said, referring to his rebellion in June that led to the collapse of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Sheetal Mhatre, a spokesperson for the Shinde camp, said the preparations at the ground are almost 80 per cent over and 4,000-5,000 buses have been booked by MLAs and MPs to ferry their supporters to the rally site.
At the Shivaji Park too, the Uddhav Thackeray camp is making its own preparations for the rally — building the stage and making seating arrangements for Shiv Sainiks loyal to the Sena president.
The top leadership of the Uddhav Thackeray faction met at Shiv Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters in Dadar, to take stock of the on-going preparations.
Some Shiv Sainiks from Beed district in central Maharashtra owing allegiance to the Thackeray camp are travelling on foot to attend the rally at the Shivaji Park.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said the faction headed by Uddhav Thackeray is the “real” Shiv Sena.
The Sharad Pawar-led party is of the view that the ‘real’ Shiv Sena carries the ideas of the late Balasaheb Thackeray, state NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said.
“Two Dussehra rallies will be held this year. One is of tradition, loyalty, self-respect and the ideas of Balasaheb (Thackeray) which means the one led by Uddhav Thackeray. Even though the decision on which (faction) is the real Shiv Sena is pending with the Election Commission, the real Shiv Sena is the one that has the ideas of Balasaheb (Thackeray) which means it is the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena,” Tapase said in a video statement.