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Uddhav: Is BJP firm on Hindutva?

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

With the Bharatiya Janata Party invoking Chhatrapati Shivaji to wean away the Marathi chauvinist vote-bank from the Shiv Sena, the Sena pramukh Uddhav Thackeray is making a pitch for the Hindutva votes in Maharashtra. “If Hindu votes converge, then the Shiv Sena will get a full mandate,” he told The Hindu in an interview.

Accusing the BJP of moving away from its core principles, Mr. Thackeray wanted his former ally to explain why it was diluting its Hindutva ideology. “We are firm on Hindutva, but is the BJP firm on that? Even the colour of their Lotus symbol has changed from saffron to white. They should explain why,” he said in an apparent reference to BJP leaders wearing pins with a white lotus on their shirts during the campaign.

The Sena chief denied he had joined hands with his estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, who heads the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, to launch an orchestrated campaign against the BJP for the Maharashtra polls. “It is not just the two of us. All parties are targeting the BJP. We have already exposed the scams of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government during the Lok Sabha polls. They are history. Now wherever I go, people want to know why the BJP betrayed us.”

He dismissed Mr Modi’s claims that the BJP would not divide Maharashtra. “Creating smaller States is the BJP’s agenda. They have always said this and it is an open agenda.”

'BJP out to destroy smaller parties'

Mr. Thackeray accused the BJP of trying to finish off smaller parties. “See what they did to Kuldeep Bishnoi after promising him the Chief Minister’s post," he said.



Asked if a post-poll alliance with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by his estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, was a possibility, Mr. Thackeray said: “I do not see the necessity.” Although Raj Thackeray recently said the cousins could come together for the sake of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray took a clear stand against the MNS. “Hindus and Marathi people should not be misled. The splitting of votes must be avoided. People should vote for the Shiv Sena to keep the State united, otherwise the BJP will end up breaking it into pieces.”



The BJP, he said, would face a backlash from the voters this election. “If they have betrayed a 25-year-old ally, people will wonder how they will fulfil their promises to them.” Yet, Mr. Thackeray made it clear he would continue to retain his party’s Union Cabinet post in the NDA.



“With 18 MPs, we had a share in the NDA’s victory. Why should we sacrifice the post?” Besides sharing power in the BJP-led NDA, the former allies also run several municipalities together including the Mumbai civic body.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 4:31:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/shiv-sena-chief-uddhav-thackeray-is-bjp-firm-on-hindutva/article6482395.ece

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