States

Sena has left neither its saffron flag nor Hindutva, says Uddhav

Leading the show: MNS chief Raj Thackeray at a rally from Marine Drive to Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Sunday.

Leading the show: MNS chief Raj Thackeray at a rally from Marine Drive to Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Sunday.  

Party leaders see BJP hand in MNS rally, say change in Raj’s ideology raises doubts

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said some people are saying the Shiv Sena has left Hindutva after going with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, but the Sena has left neither its saffron flag nor Hindutva. His remarks came in the backdrop of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray holding a rally in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The CM chaired a meeting of party legislators and district chiefs at the State guest house, Sahyadri, to discuss organisation building, and to help them understand the CAA. Last month, on Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary when the MNS chief had held a day-long convention and launched son Amit Thackeray, the CM had taken a dig at him on similar lines.

Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande came down heavily on the MNS and said this march does not affect the Sena in any way. “Everyone knows that opposition to Bangladeshi infiltrators was originally Balasaheb’s ideology. Why did the MNS remember this now, 14 years after it was formed? They have the Navi Mumbai, Sambhajinagar elections in mind. A BJP hand is clearly seen here. The MNS had completely opposed the BJP in the past and even said that Modi-Shah needed to be removed from the political scene.”

When asked about speculation of the MNS being the BJP’s ‘B team’, Ms. Kayande told reporters that the BJP always needed someone. “First it was the Sena. Now that the Sena has moved away, the BJP needs someone because it knows it cannot do anything by itself any more.”

She also said the BJP even experimented with the VBA and now the MNS. “BJP leader Ashish Shelar went to Krushnakunj (Raj Thackeray’s residence) only after this morcha was planned. The Marathi card was never theirs (MNS), and they were never consistent with it. The MNS chief even went to a convention of north Indians.”

So far, Ms. Kayande said, people had listened to Raj, but they are now doubting the repeated change in his ideology. “Is someone behind this? Is someone feeding this ideology? There is a complete chance that the BJP is supporting this march. Hindutva was never an MNS plank, but now it is. But merely changing the flag is not enough. Ideology has to be in the heart and blood; we wish them luck. People have faith in this government,” she said.

Senior Sena leader Deepak Kesarkar said, “The CM has always been consistent on his stand. There are those who try to divide Marathi votes, but Marathi manoos should decide while keeping this in mind.”

Another Sena leader and minister Uday Samant said there have been so many such sabhas, but a party’s identity is clear only by electoral success. “So their success will only be clear after elections. Many tried to challenge the Sena, but there is a Sena CM in Maharashtra now. This march will not affect the Sena in any way.”

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 11:45:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/sena-has-left-neither-its-saffron-flag-nor-hindutva-says-uddhav/article30778513.ece

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