Taking aim at the Election Commission of India (ECI), Shiv Sena (UBT) chief and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that the commission’s decision to award the Shiv Sena name and party symbol to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s rival faction was unacceptable and accused the ECI of being “a slave to power” and taking their “orders from above”.
Addressing a mega rally — his first since losing the party name and symbol — in Khed in Konkan’s Ratnagiri district, Mr. Thackeray also targeted the ruling BJP and Mr. Shinde’s Shiv Sena. Notably, the Marathi Muslim Seva Samiti (MMSS) has issued a letter making an ardent appeal to Muslims to participate in large numbers in Mr. Thackeray’s rally.
“The ECI’s decision is not acceptable to us… They may award party name and symbol to Eknath Shinde group, but cannot give the party, which was established by my father [Bal Thackeray] to them. We will not allow them to do so. This commission is a slave to power, they act according to orders from above [BJP-led Centre] and do not deserve to be called the ECI,” Mr. Thackeray said, adding that it was his father and “not the ECI commissioner’s father who had founded the Shiv Sena.”
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Alluding to the massive gathering at his rally, Mr. Thackeray said that if the ECI’s eyes were “not clouded by cataract,” then the commission’s authorities could come to Khed and see for themselves who the ‘real’ Shiv Sena was.
Targeting the BJP for “behaving cruelly” with the Shiv Sena despite all that Bal Thackeray had done for the former in the past, Uddhav Thackeray said that in breaking the Sena, the BJP had wounded the Marathi-speaking populace and the Hindu community in general.
Also read:EC recognising Shinde faction as real Shiv Sena an act of ‘political violence’: Sanjay Raut
“When nobody used to ask after you [the BJP], it was the head of the Shiv Sena [Bal Thackeray] who had stood by you…it was Balasaheb who had helped the BJP establish ‘Hindutva’. And yet, this is how they behaved with us,” said Mr. Thackeray.
Questioning the BJP’s “breathtaking hypocrisy” when Home Minister Amit Shah accused Mr. Thackeray of dallying with the Congress and the NCP, Mr. Thackeray asked how the BJP, which had labelled Meghalaya’s National People’s Party (NPP) as “most corrupt”, could now conveniently form a government with NPP leader Conrad Sangma.
Also read: Supreme Court, Election Commission orders will persuade Shiv Sena fence sitters to choose Eknath Shinde, feels BJP
Mr. Thackeray, who was among the signatories to a letter that Opposition leaders, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, had written to Prime Minister Modi regarding the harassment of non-BJP leaders by Central agencies, said that even if the Prime Minister chose to ignore the contents of the letter, it expressed what was uppermost in the public mind today.
Mr. Thackeray asked who Shinde faction was to teach him and his faction about the ideals that his father had preached.
“They [Shinde group MLAs], whose careers have blossomed only in the last 10-15 years, have the audacity to teach me about the ideals upheld by my father,” said Mr. Thackeray .