Shiv Sena’s discomfiture with BJP comes out frequently in Uddhav Thackeray’s public statements
In an interview given to Saamna editor Sanjay Raut, Thackeray has also talked of the futility of prefixing Chowkidar before his or other Sena leaders’ names to toe their BJP peers’ penchant for this
Days after challenging Opposition to name its leader against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has retracted and softened a bit vis-à-vis NDA’s rivals by disassociating himself.
In an interview given to Saamna editor and Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, Thackeray has also talked of the futility of prefixing Chowkidar before his or other Sena leaders’ names to toe their BJP peers’ penchant for this.
Thackeray claimed that he already serves the people of Maharashtra to his best so there was no need for a show like flaunting the term Chowkidar for namesake.
The interview published in the Sena’s Marathi mouthpiece on Tuesday, or April 2, is in sharp contrast to the bonhomie that the Sena Paksha Pramukh as Thackery is generally called in Marathi had shown towards Amit Shah by visiting Gandhinagar on last Saturday, or March 30.
Thackeray attended the razzmatazz that marked the filing of nomination papers by the BJP chief to replace the present Lok Sabha member from Gujarat capital LK Advani.
In his Tuesday interview the Sena boss justified this as “compulsions that times do warrant”. So far so good but the long interview somehow betrays a bit of uneasiness to say the least on the part of Thackeray after his recent coming in tighter embrace of the BJP.
Strangely, it is so after his five-year long bitterness and rancour for the BJP despite the alliance between his party and the BJP holding both in Maharashtra and Centre throughout this period.
The reason behind Thackeray’s latest flip-flop could well be understood if it is to be viewed in the light of the Sena’s founder late Balasaheb Thackeray’s skepticism against what he thought to be excessive Gujaratis’ influx in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.
This became all the more palpable when Uddhav’s cousin Raj Thackeray recently opposed the proposed running of bullet train from Gujarat to Mumbai. Among other things the grouse that gained ground in Maharashtra against the building of high-speed train corridor to connect it with Gujarat was also built around the possibility of “moneyed” Gujaratis taking the train every morning and evening to Mumbai to booze around in the city to escape prohibition in Gujarat.
Moreover, Bal Thackeray had never accepted Modi as the candidate for the post of Prime Minister. Instead, he had proposed the name of now Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj months before his death.
Swaraj was the leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha in 2012 when the senior Thackeray passed away in Mumbai. The events thereafter seldom allowed Sena to feel comfortable with the BJP under Amit Shah and Modi till Uddhav was seen warmly hugging the former at Gandhinagar on last weekend.
Thus, it remains to be seen how the two leaders take their recent camaraderie forward though the two are thought to have buried the hatchet for now.