Won’t remove ‘Hindu’, ‘Jai Bhavani’ from party’s election song, says Uddhav after EC issues notice

The Commission had cited ‘religious connotations with a Hindu goddess’ for issuing the notice; Uddhav argues that it was to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj founding Hindavi Swaraj 

April 21, 2024 10:42 pm | Updated April 22, 2024 06:20 am IST - Mumbai

Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray during a press conference at Bandra  in Mumbai, on April 21, 2024.

Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray during a press conference at Bandra in Mumbai, on April 21, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Election Commission of India (EC) issued a notice to Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT) for using ”Jai Bhavani Jai Shivaji“ and “Hindu ha tujha dharma” words in its campaign song for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, citing its religious connotations with a Hindu goddess.

However, Mr. Thackeray responded defiantly, stating, “We will not remove these words under any circumstance.” He asked the poll body to address similar instances in the BJP’s campaigns, citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s use of “Bajrang Bali ki Jai” during the Karnataka assembly elections. “It should first act against PM Modi who while campaigning for the Karnataka Assembly elections had asked people to say “Jai Bajrang Bali” and press the button on EVMs. (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah had told people to vote for the BJP to get Ram Lalla darshan for free in Ayodhya,” the former chief minister said.

The Sena (UBT) leader explained that his party crafted a song to promote its new electoral symbol, the “mashal” (flaming torch), but the EC demanded the removal of “Hindu” and “Jai Bhavani” from it. He defended the inclusion of these words, citing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s establishment of Hindavi Swaraj with the blessings of goddess Tulja Bhavani, clarifying that they were not soliciting votes based on religion. “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj founded Hindavi Swaraj with the blessings of goddess Tulja Bhavani. We are not asking for votes in the name of the goddess or Hindu religion. This is an insult and will not be tolerated,” Mr. Thackeray said.

He condemned the directive as an insult and declared his intention to continue using “Jai Bhavani” and “Jai Shivaji” in public meetings.

Additionally, the Shiv Sena (UBT) sought clarification from the EC on whether there had been changes to laws permitting appeals for votes in the name of religion. “The poll body has not responded to our letter and the reminder we sent. In the reminder, we had said if the laws have been changed, we will also say ‘Har Har Mahadev’ in our election rallies.”

The 63-year-old leader recounted his father, the late Balasaheb Thackeray’s six-year disenfranchisement due to his Hindutva campaign during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister. Furthermore, the party urged the EC to determine whether speeches made by Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah during recent Assembly elections, invoking religion, constituted “corrupt practice” under the Representation of People Act.

Meanwhile, addressing a rally in Buldhana district on Sunday, BJP chief J.P. Nadda criticised the Opposition parties, claiming they were trying hard to save their dynastic politics.

He said that the BJP had provided a stable government in the last 10 years and crucial issues like the practice of instant triple talaq and the Ram temple construction in Ayodhya were resolved under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership.

Targeting the Opposition, the saffron party chief said political parties earlier used to make tall claims in their manifesto and forget their implementation after coming to power. “The Opposition parties in the country are now trying hard to save their dynastic politics, be it the Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP) or Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT),” Nadda said.

The BJP-led government also came up with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that now offered Indian citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Parsis and Christians (from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have come to India), Mr. Nadda said. “The Congress never took such steps to help them,” he said, adding that after Mr. Modi came to power, the politics of the country changed and became more accountable to the people. In a way, it has become more responsible, he added.

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