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Uddhav, Shinde fight for claim on Sena, Balasaheb’s legacy at Dussehra rallies

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray held Dussehra rallies in Mumbai on Wednesday, staking their claim on the ‘real Shiv Sena’ and the legacy of party founder late Balasaheb Thackeray.

While Uddhav Thackeray addressed his supporters at Shivaji Park, Eknath Shinde led the rally of the rebel faction of Shiv Sena at Bandra Kurla Complex’s MMRDA ground.

Both the leaders took digs at each other, invoking Balasaheb Thackeray in their respective speeches and accusing each other of betrayal.

WHAT DID EKNATH SHINDE SAY?

Massive crowds at the Dussehra rally is proof enough to show who are true inheritors of Balasaheb Thackeray’s legacy, Eknath Shinde told his supporters at the MMRDA ground.

“You [Uddhav Thackeray] said hamara pariwar, hamari jimmedari (our family, our responsibility). But your family is confined to hum do, hamare do,” Shinde said in a veiled reference to Uddhav and his son Aaditya Thackeray, who helms the affairs of the party.

READ | Blow to Uddhav Thackeray as Supreme Court allows poll panel to decide ‘real’ Shiv Sena

“You were doing work from home, but we are used to working without home. We have all worked day and night during floods in Maharashtra. But our leader came only to click photos. Shiv Sena is not your private limited company but was formed through efforts of common Sena workers,” Shinde said, emphasising the work done by Shiv Sena cadres on the ground during the floods in the state.

On Balasaheb’s legacy and his true heir, Shinde said his group is getting support for protecting Balasaheb’s ideology and Hindutva. People will soon stop asking who the real heir to Balasaheb’s legacy is, Shinde added, pointing out that the answer lies in the massive crowds seen at his Dussehra rally.

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“This Shiv Sena is not of Uddhav Thackeray or Eknath Shinde. It is the Shiv Sena of Balasaheb’s principles. The real heirs of Balasaheb are the heirs of his thoughts. We are being called traitors. There has been a betrayal but the betrayal happened in 2019,” Shinde further said, referring to the MVA government in the state.

“Maharashtra voters elected you and BJP in Assembly elections, but you betrayed people by allying with Congress and NCP,” he added.

Eknath Shinde also asked Uddhav Thackeray to kneel down at Bal Thackeray’s memorial in Mumbai and apologise for ‘betraying’ the people of Maharashtra.

WHAT DID UDDHAV THACKERAY SAY?

Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray addressed a rally at the historic Shivaji Park in Mumbai, a venue associated with the Shiv Sena since its inception in 1966, and tore into Eknath Shinde and ‘rebel’ Sena leaders.

“I will call them (rebels) gaddar only. In this birth, they can’t wipe this tag. Earlier, people said Shiv Sena would be over. Now looking at the crowd, they are saying traitors will be wiped out. This crowd is not here for money,” Uddhav Thackeray said.

READ | This year Ravan is different: Uddhav takes jibe at Eknath Shinde at Dussehra rally

Uddhav Thackeray also attacked Eknath Shinde for staking claim on his late father and Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s legacy. “Will you accept him (Shinde) as Sena chief? Baap chori karne wali aulad (the son who wants to rob my father),” he said.

A rebellion by Eknath Shinde against Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership brought down the MVA government in June this year. Since then, the two factions have been engaged in a legal battle over party, symbol and other assets.

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