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Shiv Sena to contest solo in 2019 polls, elevates Aaditya Thackeray in core hirearchy

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(G.N.S) Dt. 23

Mumbai

On the occasion of Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary, senior leader from Shiv Sena and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut made announcement that party will contest solo in upcoming Lok Sabha 2019 elections.

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday announced that it would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections on its own, and elevated Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya, 27, in its hierarchy to make him a part of the core team.

The Shiv Sena national executive, which met at the NSCI in Worli on the birth anniversary of their late founder Bal Thackeray, passed the resolution on contesting solo in the 2019 polls.

The decision comes amid increasingly strained relations with its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). For a while now, the Sena chief has been taking on the BJP and even Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis — with whom he is said to share a good personal rapport — on several issues.

The resolution to end the alliance was moved by Raut, who said that the party had “compromised for upholding the alliance” with the BJP. Raut termed the last three years of alliance with the BJP as “demoralising”.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the other important action taken was the elevation of Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray to a Shiv Sena ‘neta’. The party hierarchy has Uddhav Thackeray at the top, followed by ‘netas’ (leaders), then ‘upnetas’ (deputy leaders). This means that Aaditya will now be a part of the Sena’s core leadership team, working along with veterans such as former chief minister Manohar Joshi and industries minister Subhash Desai.

Thackeray said that going forward the Sena would contest elections in all states, and it would fight on the Hindutva agenda. “We will fight elections in every state for the cause of Hindutva, I vow today,” said Thackeray, who was re-elected party chief.

People pay homage at Bal Thackeray’s memorial at Shivaji Park on his birth anniversary, on Tuesday.

The resolution said the Sena would win at least 25 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and win a majority in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly on its merit.

However, the Sena is not pulling out of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra yet. If it pulls out, the BJP-led government in the state would be in a minority. At the same time, the Sena’s rule in the Mumbai civic body will be in jeopardy if it pulls out as it does not have a clear majority and the BJP has extended outside support to the party.

The Sena had threatened to quit the Maharashtra government earlier. Recently, Aaditya had announced that the Sena would quit the BJP-led Maharashtra government in a year’s time.

Later, Thackeray, while addressing the national executive, slammed the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a slew of issues including Hindutva, regionalism and cow vigilantism. Taking on Modi, he criticised him for promoting Gujarat when heads of states or foreign dignitaries visit India. “The PM calls himself ‘Pant Pradhan’, all he does is travel abroad, he took Israeli PM to Ahmedabad, why not to Lal Chowk in Srinagar? Why couldn’t he have done a roadshow in Srinagar? Had he hoisted tricolour in Lal Chowk, we would have felt a sense of pride towards our PM,” Thackeray said.

The Sena chief also slammed Union minister Nitin Gadkari over his remarks on the Navy at an event held in Mumbai last week. “Nitin Gadkari came to Maharashtra and insulted the Navy, which guards our borders here. People in the armed forces are the ones with the real 56-inch chest, how can you insult them,” he asked.

Training his guns at the BJP, Thackeray said the concept of Hindutva it endorsed is different. “If a government only runs advertisement [campaigns] and does not fulfil the promises it made to the people, such a government should be pulled down,” he told his party cadre and asked them to start preparing for the general and state elections as there is speculation that they may be advanced to December 2018.

Meanwhile, Aaditya is expected to play an active role in the party’s decision-making from here on. As Yuva Sena chief, the 27-year-old has initiated several programmes for Mumbai. For instance, the recently opened 11-km cycling track is his brainchild. He also spearheaded the drive to ban plastic in Maharashtra, and has been pushing for the Sena-held state transport department to promote eco-friendly public transport vehicles.

PM Modi is interested in flying kites with foreign leaders: Uddhav

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was re-elected as the party president Tuesday, launched a blistering attack on the BJP leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari who had earlier this month blamed the navy for throwing up roadblocks before development projects in Mumbai.

“I was furious after hearing what Nitin Gadkari said about the navy. You want them to stay on the border but you do not have any qualms about taking credit when a surgical strike happens,” Thackeray said at the party’s National Executive meet in Mumbai.

He claimed that arrogance had crept into the country’s top leadership. He also stated that the common perception amongst the public these days was that parties are coming to power because of EVM frauds.

“People think that we have a strong leader. But we have a leader who is interested in flying kites with foreign leaders in Ahmedabad. Why are these visiting leaders taken to Gujarat and not to Kashmir or other states,” Thackeray said.

The Sena has decided to contest alone in the upcoming parliamentary and state assembly election in 2019.

Thackeray also questioned the BJP leadership’s penchant for allegedly making false promises.

“In India killing a cow is a crime. Shouldn’t telling lies also be deemed as a crime?” He said.

He also said that no one knows whether the country is progressing or regressing.

“When elections come we hear about ‘Acche Din’ but no one knows if we are going forwards or backwards. Industries are closing down there are no jobs for youngsters,” Thackeray said.

He also claimed that people could not find much difference in the previous and current government in the country.

“The BJP lost ground in Gujarat and the Congress made some gains. We are neither sad nor happy for either of the parties. But let me tell you that had there been an alternate in Gujarat the people would have voted for that alternate regional party,” Thackeray said.

The current government seems to be only functioning only in ads, Thackeray said.

“It spends crores on advertisements but not much for the development of people,” Thackeray said.

He also claimed that henceforth the Shiv Sena would contest elections in each and every state including Maharashtra with Hindutva as its agenda.

“Earlier we would refrain from fighting elections to avoid splitting of Hindu votes. Henceforth the party will fight elections in each state on the issue of Hindutva,” Thackeray said.

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