Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s glory days in the party are clearly over. The former Lok Sabha Speaker was booed by party workers and had to leave the stage at the party’s annual Dussehra rally on Sunday.
Mr. Joshi had indirectly criticised party president Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership style, by contrasting it with the aggressive style of Bal Thackeray, two days ago.
At the rally, a combative Mr. Uddhav Thackeray said he would not succumb to pressure from anyone. “I am your leader only as long as you want me as your leader. That’s what my father also used to say. But as long as I am your leader, I will not take decisions under pressure,” he said.
Mr. Joshi has been angling for an assurance of a Lok Sabha ticket from the party for the forthcoming parliamentary polls. However, the Shiv Sena prefers to field a younger leader. Just a few days ago, Mr. Joshi met Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar in Delhi, to explore the possibility of a Rajya Sabha seat. None of this has gone down well with the Sena leadership.
At the rally, Mr. Thackeray also criticised Mr. Pawar and the Congress government at the Centre and the State. Criticising Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, he said, “Despite all the allegations of corruption against Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in the irrigation scam, why is there no action against him?”