‘I quit Shiv Sena after telling Balasaheb’: Raj Thackeray’s jibes at turncoats

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Mumbai, Feb 7 (IANS) A day after the Election Commission of India (ECI) awarded the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founded by Sharad Pawar and its symbol ‘Clock’ to the breakaway faction of Ajit Pawar, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) reacted to the current era political scenario, here on Wednesday.

The sharp barbs were directed at Ajit Pawar and without mentioning any name, at Shiv Sena leader and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

MNS President Raj Thackeray said that years ago, in November 2005, he had gone to meet the (original) Shiv Sena founder-patriarch Balasaheb Thackeray along with former Lok Sabha Speaker and ex-CM Manohar Joshi.

“At that time, Balasaheb had realised that I would no longer remain with the Shiv Sena… I went to meet him and he guessed it was my farewell call. Manohar Joshi stepped out of the room. Balasaheb opened his arms wide and gave me an affectionate hug and said: ‘You go now’…And it was my last meeting with him,” said Raj Thackeray.

Later, Raj Thackeray said he was asked by the media after the Shiv Sena had suffered the rebellions by Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane, later Eknath Shinde and also his own severing links with the party.

“I tell them clearly. I did not rebel, I did not backstab anybody or committed treason, I did not insult any senior leaders or grab any party. All the others who left went to join other parties for power. I quit the party after informing Balasaheb Thackeray face-to-face… And I did not join any party for power. Much later, (March 2006) I founded the MNS with your trust and blessings,” said Raj Thackeray.

While Bhujbal had joined the Congress (1991) and later the NCP (1999) founded by Sharad Pawar, Rane went to the Congress (2005), then formed his own outfit before joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (2019), while Shinde split the Shiv Sena vertically, toppled the then CM Uddhav Thackeray and became the CM (June 2022).

“It is easy to take over a party established by an elderly uncle (Sharad Pawar), on the strength of someone else (ECI), but to found one’s own party on one’s own strength without disrespecting a senior leader, to get a symbol, it takes struggle and patience… Like Raj Thackeray, it takes courage,” commented the MNS on its official X handle.

In another post, the MNS said that what Raj Thackeray had predicted in his May 6, 2023 meeting in Ratnagiri about Ajit Pawar finally came true today.

“Anyway… but we are rightly proud that we are working under the leadership of Raj Thackeray who has innovated his own political existence from zero without usurping anything from anyone and without insulting the elderly leaders,” said the MNS tweets.

The opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT), MNS and NCP (SP), tore into the ECI ruling, and now the Sharad Pawar-led group has been asked to submit its options for a new name and party symbol by Wednesday evening.




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