Uddhav has jettisoned Bal Thackeray’s principles for power: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah   | Photo Credit: PTI

Launching a broadside against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the Shiv Sena, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on February 7 accused his estranged saffron ally of sacrificing late Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s principles for power.

Rebuking Mr. Thackeray’s tripartite ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ government (comprising the Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress), Mr. Shah mocked it as “a three-wheeled autorickshaw” trundling aimlessly in three different directions.

He said the BJP had made no ‘closed door’ promises to the Sena of offering the latter the Chief Minister’s post following the 2019 Assembly election.

“Uddhav Thackeray and the Shiv Sena have jettisoned all of Balasaheb’s principles by forming an unnatural alliance with the Congress and the NCP in Maharashtra…They [the Sena] keep saying we have broken promises that we had allegedly given behind closed doors. I would like to emphatically say I have never indulged in ‘closed-door’ politics. I believe in transparency and making all promises on a public forum,” he said in Sindhudurg in the Konkan.

Mr. Shah was inaugurating a medical college set-up by former Chief Minister and BJP MP Narayan Rane — a bitter critic and arch-adversary of the Chief Minister.

“During the 2019 Assembly poll campaign, Uddhav Thackeray had sought votes with Narendra Modi’s larger photo on the Sena’s banner. Both the BJP and the Sena had campaigned to re-electing Devendra Fadnavis…At that time, the Sena did not complain. I repeat, there was no such promise [of the Chief Minister’s post] given to the Sena,” Mr. Shah said, adding that the people of Maharashtra would never forgive Mr. Thackeray for his sly politics of power.

Mr. Shah said the Sena had betrayed a ‘pure’ electoral mandate handed by the people of Maharashtra to forge an opportunistic alliance with the ideologically opposed NCP.

“The BJP could have swept the 2019 polls had it contested on its own strength and employed the Sena’s stab-in-the-back tactics…the Sena would then have been finished in the State.”

Dismissing the Sena’s oft-repeated allegation that it was the BJP that had broken pre-electoral promises, Mr. Shah pointed out that in Bihar, in spite of the BJP scoring more seats than Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), the saffron party had kept its word.

“Though Nitish Kumar admitted that the BJP could stake claim to the Chief Ministership owing to our larger numbers, we kept our word and anointed him as CM as promised…it is regrettable that the Sena’s lust for power has led it to betray us,” Mr. Shah said.

He heaped praise on Mr. Rane: “I see him [Mr. Rane] as someone who speaks out against injustice without thinking of the consequences. Perhaps, it is because of this that his political career has been so full of twists and turns. However, he won’t face injustice in the BJP. We know how to take care and give respect to Mr. Rane.”

Mr. Rane had formally joined the BJP and merged his party — the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP) — in October last year ahead of the Assembly polls.

In September 2017, he had severed his decade plus-long association with the Congress which he had joined following his acrimonious exit from the Sena.

His exit from the Congress, equally laden with acrimony, was with the expectation that the BJP, which is weak in the Konkan belt, would welcome him with open arms.

Since then, the Konkan strongman has repeatedly targeted his former party the Sena, launching vitriolic attacks on Mr. Uddhav Thackeray.

Mr. Shah lauded the efforts of the medical fraternity and the paramedics in the battle against COVID-19, remarking that India had been successful in containing the virus because people had participated wholeheartedly in the struggle along with frontline warriors, doctors and State governments.

“The Modi government has fought the battle in a unique way. We implemented the lockdown on time. While we did not have the requisite infrastructure when the pandemic erupted, we shored it up in a record six months…Today, we have 2,200 testing laboratories and India is a major exporter of vaccines, masks, PPE kits. As opposed to the U.S., Italy or the U.K. and other European countries, India today has the fastest recovery rate,” he said.

Expressing satisfaction on the pace of vaccination, Mr. Shah said four more vaccines were on their way besides ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’.

“Our vaccination programme is progressing apace and we have inoculated 55 lakh persons in three weeks. We are exporting vaccines to 14 countries as of now,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 1:35:59 AM |

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