BJP Hasn't Understood Either VD Savarkar Or Mahatma Gandhi: Uddhav Thackeray

Mr Singh had recently triggered a row by claiming that Mahatma Gandhi had advised Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who was incarcerated at Andaman's Cellular Jail, to write mercy petitions to the British.

BJP Hasn't Understood Either VD Savarkar Or Mahatma Gandhi: Uddhav Thackeray

Uddhav Thackeray speaking at his party Shiv Sena's annual Dussehra rally at Shanmukhanand Hall

Mumbai:

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday launched a scathing attack on his former ally BJP, saying 'Hindutva' was facing threat from those who used it to get power and the hunger for power was like "drug addiction". 

In a no-holds-barred attack, Mr Thackeray, who is also the Shiv Sena president, virtually sounded the bugle for the civic polls in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra early next year.

Hindutva faced threat not from outsiders but from "neo Hindus" and "those who climbed the ladder of power" using the ideology, he said, adding they will now "adopt the British policy of divide and rule".

"Shiv Sena needs to guard against such designs and work for the unity of Marathi people and Hindus," he said, addressing the annual dussehra rally of the party at the Shanmukhanand Hall in Mumbai.

Maharashtra and the Sena were being targeted because his party broke off its ties with the BJP, he said.

Accusing the BJP of maligning Maharashtra, he said, "They call Mumbai police mafia, what will you call the UP police then?"

Referring to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's recent statement that ancestors of all Indians were same, Mr Thackeray asked, "Did the ancestors of opposition parties and farmers come from a different planet? Struggle for power is not good. Addiction to power is like drug addiction. In drug addiction, you destroy yourself and your family. But hunger for power destroys families of others," he said.

Notably, Mr Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena, said its and RSS's ideology was same, but paths were different.

The BJP was now targeting the Sena and accusing it of being corrupt after the two parties parted ways, he said.

"We were good when we followed you....Don't use the ED (Enforcement Directorate). Attack from the front. Our government will complete two years next month despite several attempts to topple it. I dare you to topple it," the chief minister said.

Sena workers and people of Maharashtra should emulate the example of Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal which stood up to the BJP, he added.

The BJP (its predecessors) made no contribution to the freedom struggle, Mr Thackeray alleged.

"You have not understood Savarkar or Gandhi....When you have no contribution (to freedom struggle), what right you have to speak about Gandhi or Savarkar," he asked.

Mr Thackeray's comments came days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh claimed that Gandhi had advised Vinayak Damodar Savarkar to file mercy petition to the British when the future Hindutva ideologue was incarcerated in Andaman's Cellular Jail.

The Maharashtra chief minister also demanded an open debate on Centre-state relationship and federal structure as well as atrocities against women as the country celebrates 75 years of Independence.

"Centre's interference in powers of states should be discussed," he said.

"I am Hindutva proponent and I am not ashamed of it. But as chief minister I treat all equally. Our Hindutva teaches us equality," he said.

Mr Thackeray also mocked the BJP for fielding a former Sena MLA, Subhash Sabane, in coming Deglur assembly by-election in the state. "The world's largest political party" has to import candidates even for assembly bypoll, he said.

The chief minister also referred to the BJP questioning his government after recent incidents of drug seizure in Mumbai including one in which actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan was arrested.

He asked if drug menace existed only in Maharashtra.

"Drugs worth Rs 150 crore have been seized by state police recently while the focus is only on arrests of celebrities....Where is Mundra port where drugs worth crores of rupees were seized," Mr Thackeray asked.

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