Mumbai: On the occasion of Dussehra, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday took pot shots at Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and said the people who were given responsibility became ‘Katappa’ to betray the party. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction performed ‘Raavan Dahan’ at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, the traditional venue for the party’s Dussehra celebration since its inception in 1966.
The Shiv Sena chief said, “As per our yearly tradition, there will be a ‘Ravana Dahan’ ceremony, but the Ravana of this year is different. With time, Ravana also changes… He used to be 10-headed till now. But, how many heads does he have now? He is 50 times more betraying.”
Referring to the famous character ‘Katappa’ of the film Baahubali, the former Maharashtra CM said those who were given all the benefits, betrayed Shiv Sena. “Those whom we gave everything have betrayed us and those who were not given anything, are all together. This Sena is not of one or two but of all of you. As long as you are with me, I will be the leader of the party.”
“The only thing I feel bad and angry about is that when I was admitted to the hospital, the people whom I gave the responsibility (of the state) became ‘Katappa’ and betrayed us… They were cutting me and thinking that I will never return from the hospital,” added Thackeray.
Maharashtra has been witnessing a tussle between both the factions of Sena as to who is the real inheritor of the legacy of Bal Thackeray. Using Dussehra as an opportunity to attack the opponent, both the factions of Sena, who are at loggerheads since the split in June, are holding rallies billed as a show of strength. For the first time, people of the state are weighing both factions of Shiv Sena.
Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde levelled allegations against each other. Two parallel Dussehra rallies, one at the traditional Shivaji Park and the other at MMRDA grounds articulated as a competition of show of strength between the rival factions. Uddhav questioned, “What about giving strength to women’s power or women’s rights when it came to Ankita Bhandari Uttarakhand murder case, which as per news reports, happened at a BJP leader’s resort.”
He then went ahead to challenge the Shinde faction to come on one stage and speak about Hindutva without taking the script from BJP. Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and leaders from his faction attended the Shiv Sena Dussehra rally on MMRDA ground. Shinde also gave a tribute to Balasaheb Thackeray’s chair.
‘Shashtr pooja’ was performed on the 51 feet sword for which a Mahant was called from Ayodha in Uttar Pradesh. Notably, Balasaheb Thackeray’s son Jaidev Thackeray came to show his support and shared the stage with Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde during Dussehra rally at Mumbai’s MMRDA ground.
Addressing the crowd, Shinde hit back at Thackeray and said, “They call me ‘Katappa’. I want to tell you, that even ‘Katappa’ had self-respect and was not double standard like you. This is not your (Uddhav Thackeray) private Limited company. The Shiv Sena is of shiv-sainiks who have given their sweat for it. Not for people like you, who did partnerships and sold it.”
Shinde lambasted his former party leader Uddhav Thackeray over the alliance with Congress and called him a traitor. “Balasaheb Thackeray made an alliance with BJP. You did gaddari, we are not gaddar. You have committed a sin… go apologise to Balasaheb samadhi at Shivaji park”.
Shinde further lauded his governance and said that while Uddhav Thackeray betrayed the people of Maharashtra and sold the ideology of Balasaheb Thackeray, he has brought about a revolution. “You point at us for stealing your father but you have sold your father and the packed ground here is an example of it,” he said.
Shiv Sena’s Shinde faction leader Ramdas Kadam called out Uddhav Thackeray saying, “Even your brother, cousins or Raj Thackeray are not with you Uddhav ji, if you cannot even keep your family intact, how will you keep the state intact?” Eknath Shinde took oath as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra on June 30 earlier this year. This came after a faction of Shiv Sena under Shinde shifted the alliance to Bharatiya Janata Party BJP from MVA.