Uddhav Thackeray may have lost the Shiv Sena name as well as the bow and arrow poll symbol to Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, but his morale-boosting speech outside his home Matoshree on Saturday was immediately compared to his father Balasaheb Thackeray’s address from October 1968 at Mumbai’s iconic Gateway of India.
शिवसेना पक्षप्रमुख मा.श्री. उद्धवजी बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांचा निष्ठावंत शिवसैनिकांशी संवाद – कलानगर – LIVE https://t.co/0fLK5jBltT— ShivSena – शिवसेना Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray (@ShivSenaUBT_) February 18, 2023
Leaders from the Thackeray-led faction and numerous supporters gathered outside his residence to show solidarity but security personnel were forced to close the main gate due to the pressing crowd. Uddhav, who was meeting his supporters and leaders inside, was informed about the situation and decided to meet people waiting outside. He then delivered a 10-minute speech from the sunroof of his car with a microphone and speaker in the middle of the road.
The photo of Uddhav sticking out of his sunroof alongside a black and white image of his father doing the same is now doing the rounds on social media. Balasaheb’s image is from an agitation for which he could not get permission and, hence, police had not allowed the Sena workers to construct a stage. So, Balasaheb had decided to address the gathering by standing on his car’s bonnet. Last year, this photo was also tweeted by former mayor Kishori Pednekar during the controversy over the Shivaji Park ground for holding the Dussehra rally. Uddhav’s faction, which wanted to conduct its annual rally in Shivaji Park ground but was being denied permission from the Shinde-led government had then made a plan to park a truck on the main road outside the party headquarters and use it as a stage.
Back then, Balasaheb’s address was an appeal to Marathi-speaking people of Mumbai to support the party to fight for the rights of the ‘Marathi manoos’ (sons of the soil).
In his speech, Uddhav asked his party cadre not to be demoralised as the Shinde camp had “stolen” the party symbol and name.
“In India, the Shiv Sena is the only party that has received such a veiled attack in the history of independent India. No one can finish the Shiv Sena this way,” Uddhav said, adding that the Shinde faction needed Balasaheb’s name and face.
Taking a veiled dig at the BJP, which is in alliance with the Shinde government, Uddhav further said, “There was a time when people cast vote in the name of Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) but now Modi is asking for votes in the name of Balasaheb.”
He also asked his cadre to be prepared for the BMC elections and prove a point about what the Shinde faction deserves.
With inputs from News18