Other States

Shiv Sena rattles sabres with BJP, says Bal Thackeray is the ‘Father of Hindutva’

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. | Photo Credit: PTI

Throwing down the ‘Hindutva’ gauntlet to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling Shiv Sena, on its 56 th Foundation Day asserted that late Sena founder Bal Thackeray was the ‘Father of Hindutva’ even as party president and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray censured the BJP-ruled Centre’s contentious ‘Agnipath’ scheme as a “mirage”.

Addressing Sena leaders and party workers in Mumbai, Mr. Thackeray, in a pointed remark at the BJP, said it was futile taking Lord Ram’s name if there were no employment opportunities for the youth.

“Today, several youths have hit the streets in protest against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme Why are they so angry? Who provoked them? I have always said that if there is no work in hand then what is the point in only chanting ‘Ram Ram’,” Mr. Thackeray said, while chastising PM Modi for inaugurating temples and giving grants to religious establishments while the youth raged against the lack of employment opportunities.  

Stating that one ought to only make promises that one can fulfil, the Sena chief said his party never made hollow promises.

“Promises were made [by the BJP-ruled Centre] that they would give some two crore jobs. But nothing has been given. And now, they suddenly come with a scheme with grandiose names like ‘Agnipath’ and ‘Agniveer’,” said Mr. Thackeray.

Remarking it was “dangerous” that soldiers in the Armed Forces would be hired on a contractual basis, he quipped that if this was the way of the future then henceforward, even governments could be formed on a contract basis.

“Might as well float a tender announcing that we are seeking a PM and a CM. Anyway, the work of the government is for five years after which we seek an extension (election) from the people,” Mr. Thackeray wryly said.

Launching a broadside against the BJP, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that others ought not to teach ‘Hindutva’ to the Shiv Sena nor worry about the direction the party was taking.

“Today is ‘Father’s Day’ and for us, as for all those Hindus in spirit, Bal Thackeray was the ‘Father of Hindutva.’ So, others [BJP] should not presume to give guidance to the Sena regarding Hindutva,” he said.

Mr. Raut further said that a month ago, the BJP had spoken of Maharashtra going the way of Sri Lanka.

“Instead, today, youth and the unemployed are out on the streets protesting against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme. A State cannot be run only on deceit and treachery.

We are not scared of the BJP’s misuse of central agencies… The controls of Maharashtra’s government are and will remain with the Sena and Uddhav Thackeray for a long time,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 3:32:44 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/shiv-sena-rattles-sabres-with-bjp-says-bal-thackeray-is-the-father-of-hindutva/article65542895.ece