Launching a blistering attack on Shiv Sena president and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Narayan Rane on Friday said Mr. Thackeray had been an “accidental CM” who had no contribution in building either his party nor towards Maharashtra.
Mr. Rane, who is Mr. Thackeray’s bitterest political adversary, lashed out at the Sena chief’s October 5 Dasara rally speech at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park, alleging that there were no ideological principles to guide the cadre except a continuous hurtling of abuse against senior BJP leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
“During Balasaheb Thackeray’s time we used to be inspired by ideas which used to guide us. Today I have reached where I am because of Saheb’s ideas. Contrast that with Uddhav Thackeray’s speech, which contained nothing but invective,” alleged Mr. Rane, the Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, speaking in Mumbai.
In an unbridled verbal attack on Mr. Thackeray, Mr. Rane warned that the Sena chief would be responsible should any law and order situation arise in Maharashtra as the BJP would not henceforth bear jibes on senior party leaders by the Uddhav camp.
‘What is your worth?’
“What is your [Uddhav Thackeray’s] worth? You have become CM merely by accident. You were present in the Mantralaya [State Secretariat] for barely two-and-half-hours during your two-and-half-year term as CM,” said the BJP leader.
Remarking that Mr. Thackeray had done nothing for the welfare of farmers in the State, had utterly failed to stimulate industry and had not concerned himself with party building, Mr. Rane claimed that the Shiv Sena had reached its present heights because of leaders like current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and past workers like himself.
Mr. Rane had exited the Sena in 2005 following an acrimonious dispute with Mr. Thackeray.
“You [Uddhav] have no right to take Balasaheb’s name as you have forsaken all your father’s ideals. Bal Thackeray loved his Shiv Sainiks and instilled trust in them. Uddhav has only lived for the interests of his family without doing anything nor caring for the welfare of the ordinary Shiv Sainik. What has he done for the rights of Marathi-speaking populace in Mumbai? In the past, the Sena had firebrand leaders like Datta Salvi and Wamanrao Mahadik, now it has fallen extremely low under Uddhav Thackeray… If you need a doctor for bending [alluding to Uddhav Thackeray’s surgery], then what work will you do?” said Mr. Rane.
Alluding to Mr. Thackeray’s Dasara rally wherein the Sena chief censured Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah of failing to bring peace to Kashmir, Mr. Rane said the former dare not criticise the BJP in this manner.
‘Keep some limits’
“Did you scrap Article 370? You ought to keep some limits while criticising Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah. You did not understand the CM’s post. What will you understand about diplomacy? You claim that Mr. Modi had cut a cake in Pakistan with his counterpart and censured the PM… What relation has it with ‘Hindutva’?” asked an irate Mr. Rane.
Relations between the two leaders, acrimonious at the best of times, hit a new low in August 2021 (when Mr. Thackeray was Chief Minister) after Mr. Rane had remarked that he would have given Mr. Thackeray “a tight slap” for allegedly forgetting the number of years of India’s Independence during his Independence Day speech.
No less than five FIRs had been filed against Mr. Rane in different parts of the State and led to the Nashik Police Commissioner issuing a warrant for the Minister’s arrest. The Union Minister was taken into police custody and hauled before a local court in Raigad which finally had granted bail to Mr. Rane.
Now, with the fall of Mr. Thackeray government and the tables turned on the Sena chief, Mr. Rane has been giving free rein to his verbal assaults on the Sena president.