After the Supreme Court on Wednesday rapped former Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for his role in the vote that toppled the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in 2022, Mr. Thackeray, the leader of the Shiv Sena (UBT) faction said he firmly believed in justice while lauding the apex court as the “only ray of hope” in the ongoing tussle between the rival Shiv Sena factions.
Addressing workers of the three MVA parties (the Nationalist Congress Party or NCP, the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Congress) following a meeting of the MVA leadership in Mumbai on Thursday, Mr. Thackeray launched a broadside against the ruling Eknath Shinde faction and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“I have faith in the God of justice. The Supreme Court is the only ray of hope at this stage as the ruling power [BJP] has finished three of the four pillars of democracy, especially the press. Many journalists, instead of holding the kalam [pen] seem to be having the kamal [lotus, the BJP’s symbol] in their hands today,” the former Chief Minister quipped.
Remarking that the country today was at a political crossroads, Mr. Thackeray said the scenario was so dire that one either had go with the BJP or go to jail.
“If Modi is indeed the personification of India, then what is the point in chanting Bharat Mata ki Jai. It ought to be Modi Zindabad,” Mr. Thackeray said drily.
Hitting back at the Shinde group’s accusations that he had been a “resident” CM while heading the MVA government, Mr. Thackeray remarked that he had succeeded in achieving more during the pandemic than what Mr. Shinde and his rebel MLAs had been able to achieve despite their frantic dash to Guwahati (during the intra-party rebellion) and frequent visits to Delhi to meet the BJP’s top brass.
“People keep asking me if I knew about their [Shinde camp] intention to revolt and why I did not stop them if I sensed they were going to rebel. I say what was the point in stopping them as they [Shinde group] were already ‘sold’… I do not want such people in my party. They are not fit to be called Shiv Sainiks. I had clearly said the door is open, those who wish to remain could do so and the rest could get out,” Mr. Thackeray said.
Mr. Thackeray further accused the ruling government of not have the courage to announce the dates of the long-pending civic polls as they feared they would lose.
Earlier, speaking at the premises of the State Legislature during the ongoing Budget session, Mr. Thackeray cornered the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government over the public’s rising agitation over the Old Pension Scheme.
He questioned what was stopping the government from implementing the demands of the State’s employees, given that they were backed by the “world’s biggest power” (a reference to the Narendra Modi-led BJP) sitting in Delhi.
Mr. Thackeray also questioned why the government was evading the concerns of 20,000 farmers who were holding a “long march” from Nashik to Mumbai, while censuring Mr. Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for not reaching out to the farmers and addressing their concerns.