Following months of a bitter showdown with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Uddhav Thackeray finally brought the might of his Shiv Sena behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi while also taunting the entire opposition for being “a headless bunch”.
Addressing supporters of the NDA parties in Gandhinagar at a mega public event held ahead of BJP chief Amit Shah’s nomination from the seat, Thackeray launched a stinging attack on the opposition while heaping praises on the PM.
“Yes, there were differences with the BJP but they have been resolved,” the Shiv Sena chief said.
Speaking in the presence of Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari and NDA allies Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supremo Parkash Singh Badal and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) founder Ram Vilas Paswan, the 58-year-old Thackeray underlined that the ideological core of both BJP and Shiv Sena – Hindutva and nationalism – are the same.
“My father (Balasaheb Thackeray) used to say that Hindutva is our breath, and we cannot live without it,” he stressed.
Assailing the opposition parties, Thackeray said that while the NDA has one leader, there is no prime ministerial candidate on the other side.
“Today, we have one idea, one leader. Here, people raise ‘Modi Modi’ slogan. Who is prime ministerial candidate of the opposition? Can they hold a rally like this and ask their supporters to shout a slogan for one common leader?” Thackeray said as the crowd raised slogans in praise of the Prime Minister.
The opposition parties who have come together against the BJP at different platforms are yet to stitch together an alliance.
Taking a swipe at the number of opposition parties, Thackeray referred to a Bollywood film.
“The opposition reminds me of the movie ‘Ab Tak Chappan’… they have so many leaders holding each others’ hands,” he said, adding that they are shocked to see him at the rally because they were celebrating when BJP and Shiv Sena were not getting along well.
Thackeray said that Shiv Sena does not “believe in the culture of backstabbing”.
After over four years of differences during which Shiv Sena criticised PM Modi on numerous occasions, the party came to a 50-50 seat-sharing agreement with BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019.
In the 2014 assembly elections in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena won 122 of Maharashtra’s 288 seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Sena won 18 of the 48 seats in the state while the BJP won 23.