The ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra on Saturday clarified its stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The party says that Muslim infiltrators from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan should be driven out of India. Earlier, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray had spoken in favour of the CAA on Thursday and announced a protest march in support of the law on 9 February.
After the declaration by Raj Thackeray, Shiv Sena attacked him fiercely through its mouthpiece Saamana. It said that a month ago Raj Thackeray had a different stand on CAA when he was calling it a move to divert public attention from important issues like the recession but now he has reversed his statement and is going to rally in support of CAA!
Saamana hurls at Raj a volley of taunts
Taking a dig at Raj, the Sena mouthpiece said holding two flags showed Raj’s confused mentality. This was in the context of the MNS chief launching a new flag of the party, which is in saffron with the rajamudra (royal seal) of Shivaji embossed.
The Shiv Sena taunted Thackeray by saying while Muslim infiltrators from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan should be expelled from the country, it is interesting to see that a party changed its flag for the issue. Through the party mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena said that Raj Thackeray formed his party 14 years ago on Marathi issues but now he was turning to Hindutva, but Balasaheb and Savarkar’s adherence to Hindutva was not a child’s play.
The Shiv Sena said, “We are still big-hearted and welcome those who take a Hindutva stance. However, this ideology is borrowed but it is Hindutva. So if you think you can do it, then go ahead.”
Shiv Sena further said that the party had already done a lot on Marathi issues. Hence, it said, the MNS did not get any response from the public. Now MNS is not going to, it said, get anything from Hindutva politics because Shiv Sena has done a lot for Hindutva too.
The party said if the Shiv Sena formed a government in Maharashtra with the INC and NCP, that ought not mean that the party had abandoned its Hindutva ideology. It said the BJP could join hands with Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP in Jammu and Kashmir but if anyone else took a similar step, it becomes a sin. Though the ideologies of NCP, INC and the Shiv Sena are different, there is a consensus here, due to which the government is working in the interest of the people, the Saamna editorial read.
Shiv Sena claimed it had done more work for Maharashtra in 50 days than what the BJP government managed in five years. On MNS Chief Raj Thackeray’s statement that the Shiv Sena changed its colour to form the government, the party said such statements reflected political bankruptcy. It said, “Those who say so should see the mask and multi-colour makeup on their face.”
Before today’s development, barring occasional comments by Sanjay Raut, the Shiv Sena was mocked at for the ‘opportunistic’ alliance with the INC and NCP after which not only did it stall several development projects but also went to the extent of adding a terrorist sympathiser to the Uddhav Thackeray cabinet.
Balasaheb Thackeray had in a way disowned his nephew Raj Thackeray 14 years ago over the question of succession of power in the Shiv Sena. While the nephew was considered the firebrand leader who had a more legitimate claim to the throne than the son Uddhav, the MNS floated after the split could never be even a pale shadow of the Shiv Sena in elections. However, dumping the Hindutva ideology or the agenda of Marathi manoos (people) is a strategy neither party can afford due to the apprehension that a large section of their core voters would move to the one that looks more committed to the roots.