Mumbai: Hindutva is back on the menu.
It began with MNS President Raj Thackeray taking a sharp right turn and unveiling an aggressive pro-Hindutva agenda which would be anti-Pakistani and anti-Bangla-deshi infiltrator.
Another give-away was Raj’s speech to commemorate Balasaheb’s birth anniversary – it began with him addressing a huge gathering as "Hindu friends" and concluded with him endorsing his support to the CAA-NRC-NPR agenda.
The implication was clear: Raj wishes to occupy the political space vacated by the Shiv Sen and consolidate MNS’ hold on hard-core Hindutva voter.
Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray took the cue and made it clear at another mammoth rally that his party had not disengaged with the Hindutva voter.
Another indication in this direction had come the previous day when a party spokesperson said that Thackeray will visit Ayodhya in March this year, by which time the construction of the Ram temple would be mid-way.
‘‘Maza Rang, Antrang Bhagwach Aahe (My colour and soul is saffron)," announced Uddhav with aplomb at a grand celebration at MMRDA ground in Bandra Kurla Complex. It was also his rejoinder to Raj who is blaming the Shiv Sena for changing its ideological stripes to capture power.
After the Sena joined hands with secular parties like the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, the BJP had launched a campaign against the Sena alleging that they had discarded Hindutva.
The BJP, sensing a window of opportunity, had immediately initiated talks with the MNS, so that the Hindutva plank does not weaken with the exit of the Shiv Sena.
But on Thursday, Thackeray sprang a surprise by giving a veiled warning that Sena will not vacate the Hindutva space. By a strange coincidence, he too started his speech with the words ‘My Hindu brothers and sisters.’
"When I parted ways with the BJP, they alleged I had abandoned Hindutva. They said the true face of Shiv Sena had been exposed. But in the 2014 Assembly election, they snapped ties with us. Where was the Hindutva then?’’ Uddhav slammed the BJP.
"They tried to create an impression that I was lying when I said we had agreed on equitable power share. They cheated the Sena by not keeping the promise given in Balasaheb Thackeray's room," he said, while defending the decision to ally with political adversaries like the Congress and the NCP.
While responding to Raj Thackeray criticism, Uddhav, without dropping his name, slammed his cousin. "The Shiv Sena workers are my real security cover.
They have always been with us. Not only opposition, even our family members attacked us. But the security umbrella of my workers saved us from these attacks," he said.
Uddhav was felicitated by old Shiv Sena workers for fulfilling the promise made to Balasaheb.