Maharashtra’s new Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday sidestepped a question on the Shiv Sena embracing secularism, saying that it was only going by what is prescribed in the Indian Constitution.
Uddhav Thackeray’s response came at a press conference soon after he convened the first cabinet meeting of the Maha Vikas Aghadi – an alliance of the Shiv Sena, Congress and the NCP – at the Sahyadri Guest House. “What does secular mean? It is what’s written in the Constitution,” he said, when asked if his party’s decision to align with the Congress and the NCP amounted to accepting the ideology of secularism.
Leaders of the joint alliance had laid down their joint vision on secularism at a press meet held just hours before Uddhav Thackeray was anointed as the Chief Minister in a glittering ceremony at Shivaji Park. “Secularism means that Hindus will remain Hindus and Muslims will remain Muslims. This is for those who don’t understand this,” NCP leader Jayant Patil said in the presence of Shiv Sena colleague Eknath Shinde.
The Shiv Sena, known to have dabbled in Hindutva politics in the past, faced criticism from some quarters after it broke its 30-year-old alliance with the BJP after the October elections to tie up with the Congress-NCP in a bid to helm the state again.
Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis delivered a no-holds-barred speech against Uddhav Thackeray two days ago, proclaiming that the “Shiv Sena’s Hindutva now lies at the feet of (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi”.
Mr Fadnavis also claimed that the alliance between the three parties would act as a three-wheeler whose wheels move in opposite directions. “It will be a very unstable government because they have huge ideological differences,” he predicted.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also accused the Shiv Sena of “betraying the people’s mandate”, and said that Uddhav Thackeray had made a big mistake by allying with two parties that had “tried to block the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
On Thursday, the day of Uddhav Thackeray’s anointment as the Chief Minister, the hashtag #SorryBalasaheb was seen to trend on Twitter. The insinuation here was that Uddhav Thackeray had betrayed his father Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva credentials by allying with his political foes.
Credit: Source link