Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday it is his belief that his party, the Shiv Sena, has “wasted” 25 years in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He also claimed that while the Shiv Sena has now made the decision to abandon the BJP, it will never abandon Hindutva, for the “BJP is not synonymous with Hindutva”.
Addressing party leaders and workers on the occasion of Sena founder late Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary on Sunday, Uddhav Thackeray said, “I reiterate that 25 years of the party were wasted in an alliance [with the BJP].”
“We are criticised over leaving Hindutva,” said the Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena president. “We have left BJP, not Hindutva. BJP is not synonymous with Hindutva.”
Claiming that Shiv Sena’s Hindutva “does not change based on convenience”, Thackeray attacked the BJP’s version of Hindutva politics, calling it opportunistic.
“I believe that the BJP’s opportunistic Hindutva is for power,” the PTI news agency quoted the Sena chief as saying. “Those who were criticising the Emergency period are right now behind an invisible emergency in the country. And if we want to end this, the Shiv Sena is needed.”
Moreover, the Maharashtra chief minister also said in his virtual address that the past couple of months had gone in his operation and medical recovery but he will soon be returning to active political campaigning soon.
“My physiotherapy is still on,” said Uddhav Thackeray. “Soon, I will step out and tour the state.”
Notably, the Shiv Sena fell out with BJP after the 2019 Maharashtra polls and tied up with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Indian Natioanal Congress (INC) to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.
While replying to Home Minister Amit Shah’s challenge to contest elections alone, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “We are ready to fight alone, but my condition is don’t use your power as government. We will also not use our power. Let’s fight as two political parties. It is not fair to use ED, Income Tax.”