With Shiv Sena at the mercy of Congress party to run the coalition government, it is evident that the party has no right to claim the legacy of Bala Saheb Thackeray. The Hindutva icon, who despised Congress party and Sonia Gandhi, died seven years ago, in 2012, on this day. BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis, Pankaja Munde and Vinod Tawde paid tribute to Bal Thackeray on his death anniversary.
“Bala Saheb taught us the importance of self-respect,” tweeted former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
In five decades of his political career, Bala Saheb Thackeray always saw Congress and NCP as opponents. In the mid-80s, Shiv Sena came to power at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), by defeating Congress party, which has ruled the municipal authority for decades.
Bala Saheb Thackeray has been a vocal opponent of Congress party, especially after Sonia Gandhi started controlling the party in the late 90s. Thackeray ferociously opposed Sonia Gandhi’s entry into politics and said that it would be better to hand over the country to British, rather than governed by an Italian lady.
Seven years after the death of the Hindutva icon, the party Supremo – Uddhav Thackeray made a phone call to Sonia Gandhi to seek her party’s support to form the government. In order to make his son Chief Minister of the state, Uddhav Thackeray is on the feet of the same Italian lady whom Bal Thackeray despised.
In November 2012, a few days before the death, Bala Saheb Thackeray called Congress party ‘cancer’ in a video message. “Overthrow the Congress governments in the state and at the Centre, which are a cancer,” said late Hindutva icon.
Over 2G scam, Bal Thackeray said “The Yuvraj of Congress (Rahul Gandhi) is very vocal on the corruption by Mayawati. However, he is not saying anything about the corruption by his government.” He also wrote, “His mummy (Sonia Gandhi) is also quiet on the issue. The Prime Minister is also not opening his mouth. The truth is hidden in the silence”.
Marathi Manus (son of the soil plank) and Hindutva was the core ideological base on which Bal Thackeray made the party popular. A few months before Bal Thackeray died, Shiv Sena decorated the street light poles with ‘Garv se kaho hum Hindu hai’ (proudly say that we are Hindus) posters. The support for Hindutva won massive popularity for Thackeray.
The other issue on which the party based its politics was ‘son of the soil’ plank. In the early 1970s, Bal Thackeray popularized anti-Madrasi (South Indian) sentiments in Mumbai through his controversial cartoons. He claimed that South Indians are eating into the jobs of Marathi people. In the early 2000s, the same plank was used against North Indians.
The fairness of such ‘chauvinistic’ politics is debatable, but, it does benefit the party. Shiv Sena also asked for the reservation to ‘sons of the soil’ in jobs in order to appeal Marathi manus sentiments.
But, the party has already compromised on Hindutva and son of the soil plank, in order to seek the support of Congress-NCP.
As per a report by The Print, Congress-NCP has already put the condition of equal treatment of minorities and migrants. “Minorities, migrants, Dalits, adivasis… they will be an integral part of the CMP. Migrants have faced a lot of problem in the past with Shiv Sena, and we are quite clear that they should be treated equally and there cannot be an atmosphere of fear,” said an NCP leader.
As per the agenda of Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the coalition, Shiv Sena has also given up on the demand to award Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar.
It is bizarre how the Shiv Sena is compromising on such critical issues. The party has clearly moved away with the strong ideological background that its founder, Balasaheb Thackrey had given to the party. Jammu & Kashmir BJP chief, Ravinder Raina, has also hit out at the Uddhav Thackrey led party over its attempt to form the government with the NCP and the Congress. He said, “Shiv Sena has insulted the memory of Balasaheb Thackeray who never compromised on the Hindutva ideology and principles. Shiv Sena has betrayed the people of this country.”
By compromising on both ideological issues on which Bal Thackeray popularized Shiv Sena among the common people of Maharashtra, the party has dug its own grave. Aditya Thackeray might become Chief Minister of the state for the next few years, but, by the next election, there will be no Shiv Sena for sure.