Mumbai “Where is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leading the country?” asked chief minister Uddhav Thackeray while addressing a rally in Aurangabad on Wednesday. The Shiv Sena chief further said that the entire country was put to shame because of a BJP spokesperson.
“Some BJP spokesperson insulted the Prophet. All the countries from the Middle East went together and brought our nation to its knees and made us apologise. Who brought this situation upon us? Why should the country apologise? The fault was of BJP, not India. BJP’s spokesperson cannot be India’s spokesperson and their opinions cannot be India’s stand,” Thackeray said during his speech.
Thackeray added that instead of unleashing central agencies on a political opponent, the Centre must fight for the Kashmiri Pandits. The Sena chief also targeted the BJP over the Hindutva agenda, asking its qualification to question the Sena on its Hindutva credentials.
“There are several issues in the country. Inflation is going up, and the rupee is devaluing daily, but what they are worried about is finding Shiv Ling under mosques. Who are you to measure our Hindutva? Who gave you the right?… Kashmiri Pandits are being killed in their homes, workplaces, and schools. But nobody is worried about them. I dare you to protect the Kashmiri Pandits,” the Sena chief added.
Weeks after the leader of the opposition and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis held a Jal Akrosh Morcha against the water crisis in Aurangabad, Thackeray said the protest was for losing power and not for the welfare of the people in the city.
“Somebody had carried out an Akrosh Morcha. It was not due to the anger against the water issues in Sambhajinagar but because they lost power. Had the anger been for the water issues, then why did you not resolve the issues when you were in power for five years. Why did you finish the project?” he asked.
Thackeray said that the agenda of the Sena and the MVA government was to make Aurangabad into a model city with better roads, infrastructure, and amenities. Thackeray said that the government was chalking out a metro route for the city.
Reacting to the rally, Fadnavis in a tweet said, “Those who do not provide relief to farmers, do not reduce petrol-diesel rates, must not speak about ‘acche din’. I repeat my questions, when will farmers get assistance? When will petrol-diesel rates go down? The people of Sambhajinagar expected that the city would be renamed, issues of water, roads, and development would be resolved, some new project would be announced, but what did they get, mere taunts.”
Meanwhile, Thackeray further said that Sena founder Bal Thackeray never advocated hatred towards Muslims and said that the Sena’ Hindutva meant nationalism and providing work to people.
“In all these years, did the Shiv Sena Pramukh ask people to harbour hatred towards Muslims or to target them? He can never say that. We do not have hatred towards any religion. Many times Balasaheb said that religion should be kept at home and when you step out, nationalism is our religion,” he said.
In a further attack on its former ally, Thackeray said that BJP in Maharashtra had taken a ‘supari’ (contract) to derail the development works in the state. Referring to prime minister Narendra Modi’s address to party workers last month, Thackeray said, “Our prime minister told his party workers that the opposition party in the country was not speaking on the main issues, but diverting the people. But I think the honourable PM must not be aware that the opposition party in Maharashtra is BJP, which has taken supari [against the state] so then somebody picks up a loudspeaker, and somebody takes up Hanuman Chalisa issue.”
The chief minister asked the people if they remember the promise of the BJP when it came to power in 2014. “How many of you remember the ‘acche din aayenge’ slogan? Have you ever asked them? Looking at the overall situation in the country, I want to ask them where are you taking my Hindustan and Maharashtra,” Thackeray asked.
Referring to the demand of renaming the city after Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Thackeray blamed the Centre for not accepting the proposal sent by the state government. “There is a constant debate about when it would be renamed Sambhajinagar. It was a promise given by my father Balasaheb Thackeray. We will not forget it. Over one and a half years has passed after the proposal was sent to the Centre. Then, why is it not happening?… We have also given them a proposal to rename the Chikalthana airport after Sambhajinagar…I promise you today that the name will be changed,” he said.