Sounding the bugle for Mumbai civic body polls, Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah on Monday asked party leaders and workers to inflict a "deeper wound" on Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on its home turf.
Shah slammed Thackeray saying he compromised on everything to become the chief minister with the support of Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress despite seeking votes in the 2019 polls in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP's Devendra Fadnavis.
The Shiv Sena has been ruling the Mumbai civic body for almost 30 years. Currently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is run by an administrator as the five-year term of the civic body had ended and elections are awaited.
“If you hit a person at any place, it does hurt. When you hit a person on his home ground, the pain is deeper. Now it is the time to inflict a deeper wound to Sena,” Shah told a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and select functionaries here after visiting 'Lalbaug cha Raja' and other popular pandals of Lord Ganesh in the city.
Shah is on a two-day visit to the capital of Maharashtra during the ongoing Ganpati festival. The BJP has launched an aggressive campaign to wrest the BMC, the richest civic body with an annual budget of Rs 45,000 crore, from the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
Shah also stressed ousting the Shiv Sena with the help of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led camp which rebelled against Thackeray in June this year. “I am asking all of you. Unless BJP gains the control of Mumbai, you cannot win Maharashtra. The real Shiv Sena has come with us and now is the time to show Uddhav (Thackeray) his place,” he said.
Coming down heavily on Thackeray and his party's decision to join hands with the NCP and Congress after the 2019 Assembly elections, Shah said, “You sought votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the work done by (then CM) Devendra Fadnavis. But you got greedy and sat with Sharad Pawar. You (Sena) have spent your entire life opposing the NCP, but to become a chief minister, you compromised on everything.”
He said one can tolerate injustice in politics but not treachery. They (Sena) should be punished for their deeds and give up on their principles. It is now time to show them their place,” said Shah, often called the alter-ego of PM Modi.
The Shiv Sena and the BJP had fought the BMC elections in 2017 separately despite being alliance partners in the then Fadnavis-led government. The BJP had made giant strides by winning 82 of the total 227 seats in the BMC, just two short of Sena's 84.
The Shiv Sena fell out with its traditional saffron ally after the 2019 state Assembly elections claiming that the BJP leadership had reneged on its promise to share the post of chief minister on rotation between the two parties.
The BJP had denied that it had made any such promise. The relations between the saffron allies became bitter especially after Thackeray sided with NCP and Congress to become the CM of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
In June this year, Eknath Shinde and 39 MLAs of Shiv Sena rebelled against Thackeray. Shinde became the chief minister with the support of the BJP. Fadnavis is the Deputy CM in the Shinde-led government.
(With PTI Inputs)