Shiv Sena had attacked BJP on multiple occasions before the parties patched up to fight the 2019 polls.
In a departure from tradition, for the first time in 53 years, the Shiv Sena invited a leader from outside the party, for its foundation day event held in Mumbai on Wednesday. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was the chief guest, in turn, referred to Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray as “my elder brother” in his address to the ‘sainiks’ which is what the Shiv Sena cadre refer to themselves as.
For the two parties that were at loggerheads till before the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the event was a signal to cadres of both the parties to work together for the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.
“For the last few days everyone has been writing about why I have been invited and why I am here. I am here to seek the blessings of Balasaheb Thackeray, Uddhavji‘s love and the energy of Shiv Sainiks. We are the oldest and longest alliance in the state and the country and we will remain so,” Mr Fadnavis said leading to a huge applause from the crowd.
The Sena had attacked the BJP on multiple occasions before the two parties patched up to fight the Lok Sabha elections together. Addressing the issue, Mr Fadnavis said, “If two brothers live in the same house, then there are disagreements. But workers of both parties wanted us to remove those disagreements and we did remove those differences to come together. Everyone knows, what happens in the jungle when the tiger and the lion come together. No one needs to be told who will rule.”
“When I go to a Sena event I don’t feel I have gone somewhere outside. I feel I have come home. There is a reason for this. I started my life in the RSS and I believed my inspiration would be the saffron flag. We both believe in the saffron ideology. We are inspired by Hindutva. And our Hindutva is not narrow minded. It’s not restrained by religion or caste or creed. It is nationalism and national pride. Whoever believes in this country as their motherland, as their birthplace, no matter what their beliefs, religion and caste is, every such person is a Hindu and a citizen of this county and falls within the definition of our Hindutva,” Mr Fadnavis added.
Uddhav Thackeray, who spoke last at the event also stressed upon why the two parties came together. “Shiv Sainiks have an amazing chemistry. When they love you they leave you speechless. When they fight you they leave you speechless too. We have come together because of our belief. In UP, the Bua-Bhatija (Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav) came together. What was their ideology? Stop BJP. And the alliance fizzled out after their loss. And when we raised the issues we had you responded and addressed them. If the issues were resolved there was no need to fight each other.”
“We were almost like the Opposition Party when we were fighting and we came together there is no Opposition. I saw that Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil also has joined you. But our job is not done. Our alliance is firm and we have to continue our job,” Uddhav Thackeray added taking a dig at the Opposition.
“We have thought of and resolved all the issues that may arise in the future. I don’t rejoice in anyone’s loss. But I am happy that those who called Savarkar a coward have lost”, Uddhav Thackeray added.
However, there has been a tussle for the Chief Minister’s job with several Sena leaders staking claim to the post for their party. Whether the two leaders will be able to resolve this issue amicably is yet to be seen.