In a big blow to Uddhav Thackeray, his elder brother and Balasaheb Thackeray’s son Jaidev Thackeray shared the stage with Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde during the Dusshera rally held at Mumbai’s BKC ground on Wednesday. Jaidev also openly pledged his full support to CM Shinde.
“For the last 5-6 days, I have been asked whether you are in Shinde faction. Thackerays can’t be in any faction. I like the steps taken by Shinde’s side and out of love, I have come here,” he said, speaking at the Dussehra event organised by Shinde’s faction.
“Don’t let Eknath be alone. You all should support him. Shinde is working for poor and for farmers. Shinde is similar to our farmers; he is very hardworking,” Jaidev added.
“I will say, let Shinde Rajya come back. Let there be elections and let Shinde Rajya come back. My full support is with Eknath Shinde,” he also said.
This comes as a shocker as Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction was holding its own rally at the Shivaji Park in Dadar in central Mumbai.
Both parties have been trading digs and posting video previews in the build-up to the Dussehra rallies in Mumbai.
Following a BJP-backed coup in the Shiv Sena, Eknath Shinde took over as Chief Minister on July 1 thus bringing an end to Uddhav Thackeray’s coalition government.
Addressing a huge crowd, the former chief minister slammed traitors by saying “Ravan will burn.”
“What will happen to Shiv Sena? Seeing the crowd here, the question now is — what will happen to the traitors? All have gathered together. Like every year, this time too Ravana will burn. But this time Ravana is different,” he said.
Shinde said voters in the state elected the Shiv Sena and the BJP in the 2019 Assembly elections, but Thackeray “betrayed” people by joining hands with the Congress and the NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
He said massive crowds at his Dussehra rally was proof enough to show who are true inheritors of Bal Thackeray’s legacy.
Slamming Thackeray, Shinde, who heads the rebel faction of the party, said the Shiv Sena was not a private limited company and maintained the 56-year-old outfit was built through hard work of common Sena workers.
The chief minister stoutly defended his rebellion against Thackeray’s leadership in June that brought down the MVA government.
Shinde asserted his rebellion was not an act of “betrayal” (gaddari), but a revolt (gadar).
The Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena has often targeted rebels as “traitors”.
Nihar Thackeray, grandson of late Bal Thackeray, also attended the rally besides Champa Singh Thapa, a long-time personal aide of the Sena founder.
(with PTI inputs)