In the light of the Shiv Sena’s newly formed alliance with the Republican Party of India (RPI), its executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday refuted the casteist tag given to his party.
Addressing party workers and leaders on the occasion of the 45th Foundation Day of the Sena, he slammed the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance in the State for “remembering Dalits only at the time of elections.”
RPI leader Ramdas Athavale, who joined the Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance, was present. He assured the Sena of a strong backing from his party.
Mr. Thackeray said the Congress-NCP alliance had shown disrespect to Mr. Athavale. The Sena, unlike the Congress and the NCP wore no masks. “Are we casteist? We are followers of Hindutva. We never hide our ideology. When we say we follow Hindutva, we are called casteist. However, they [the ruling alliance] only remember Dalits when elections are around the corner.”
What NCP president Sharad Pawar had given to Mr. Athavale, with whom he had had a long alliance, Mr. Thackeray asked.
He said witnesses in courts should be made to take an oath on the Constitution, than on holy texts. He assured Mr. Athavale that the Sena would not disappoint him. He expressed the hope that the alliance with the RPI would be permanent. The alliance would not be for political power, but to fulfil the long-standing dream of his grandfather Prabodhankar Thackeray. Maharashtra was leaderless and with the alliance with the RPI, the Sena would not rest till the government was toppled.
Sena leader Manohar Joshi urged party workers to go to Dalit bastis and work shoulder-to-shoulder with RPI workers.
Referring to the David Headley case, Mr. Thackeray said, “There are some in Maharashtra who do not understand what Bal Thackeray did for the State. However, Pakistan knows what the Sena chief is. International powers, they know his formidable strength.”
Mr. Thackeray’s son Aditya Thackeray, leader of the party’s youth wing, was also present.
Referring to the renaming of the Marathwada University after Dr. Ambedkar, Mr. Athavale said the Sena was not behind the burning of Dalit homes. He said Mr. Bal Thackeray did not opposed the renaming, but had, in fact, suggested inserting the word ‘Marathwada.’ He accused the Congress-NCP of sidelining him after the elections. Hindu