Chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ doesn’t make you a patriot: Uddhav Thackeray to BJP

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday slammed the BJP over issues ranging from the commitment to Hindutva to the ongoing farmers’ agitation on Delhi borders.

Asking why the Union government has not conferred Bharat Ratna on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the Hindutva ideologue, Thackeray said in the Assembly that the BJP should not teach Hindutva to its former ally, the Shiv Sena.

“Letters were sent (to the Centre) twice, seeking Bharat Ratna for Savarkar. Who confers Bharat Ratna? It is the right of the prime minister and a committee,” Thackeray said.

The BJP has been targeting the Shiv Sena chief for “giving up” his Hindutva ideology for sharing power with the NCP and Congress. Among other things, it has questioned the `delay’ in renaming Aurangabad in central Maharashtra, named for the Mughal emperor, as Sambhajinagar.

“You don’t give Bharat Ratna to Savarkar and you preach us about renaming?” the chief minister said, adding that Aurangabad will definitely be renamed.

He asked the opposition party who created roadblocks in Maharashtra’s proposal to rename the Aurangabad airport after Sambhaji Maharaj, the son of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Iron spikes were fixed in the path of farmers protesting near Delhi borders against the new farm laws, and their electricity and water supplies were cut, he said.

“Barbed wire fencing, which should have been erected along the border, was erected between farmers and Delhi…

China would not have intruded had such arrangement been made there (along the border),” the chief minister said.

Asking if the protesting farmers were terrorists, he said the country was not the BJP’s “private property”.

The Shiv Sena was not part of the freedom struggle and neither was the “parent organization” of the BJP, he said, apparently referring to the Rashtriya Swaymsevak Sangh.

“Therefore, only chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ does not prove your love for the country. You don’t have the right to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai if you are not going to give justice to people and if you are forcing farmers to protest on the streets,” Thackeray said.

Farmers are waiting for their income to double as promised but it has not happened, he said, adding that “instead, fuel prices have doubled.”

He also asked the BJP to “give up its thought” of separating Vidarbha from Maharashtra. “We will not let Vidarbha separate from Maharashtra,” he said.

Despite being in power for six years at the Centre, the BJP did not bring a law to construct Ram temple at Ayodhya and it became possible only due to the Supreme Court verdict, Thackeray further said.

“You formed government with separatists in Kashmir…you shared power with them. Didn’t your Hindutva get corrupted then?” he asked.

“How many displaced Kashmiri Pandits got homes? Don’t teach us about Hindutva, you are not qualified to do that,” Thackeray told the former ally with which he parted ways after the 2019 Assembly elections.

The BJP did not keep its promise of sharing the chief minister’s post though it had been discussed by him and then BJP chief Amit Shah in the room (in the Thackeray residence) where late Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray once lived, he said.

“Is this your love for Balasaheb? We don’t consider that room as a room, but it is a temple,” he said.

Thackeray also took a dig at the renaming of the Motera cricket stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Somebody said India will win every match there. Why? Because the name of the stadium has been changed,” he quipped.

“You wiped out the name of Vallabhbhai Patel (in the process),” he added.

The Centre had said after the renaming triggered controversy that only the stadium’s name was changed and the sports complex continues to be named for Sardar Patel.