In a scathing attack on Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his supporters, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said their reputation as "traitors" will never be washed away.
Addressing the annual Dussehra rally at the iconic Shivaji Park ground here, Thackeray lashed out at Shinde, whose rebellion in June this year brought down the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in the state.
"As time changes, Ravan's face also changes. Today, it is the traitors (who are Ravan). When I was unwell and underwent surgery, I had given the responsibility to him (Shinde). But he conspired against me thinking I will never stand up on my feet again," the former chief minister said.
The Shiv Sena does not belong to one person but it belongs to all loyal Sena workers, Thackeray said, adding, "If you feel I should not remain the Sena president, I will quit.
"There is a limit to lust for power...After the act of treachery, he now wants the party, its symbol and also wants to be called the party president," Thackeray said, targeting Shinde.
He formed a post-poll alliance with traditional foes Congress and Nationalist Congress Party to teach the BJP a lesson for breaking its promises, Thackeray said.
"I swear on my parents that it had been decided that the BJP and Shiv Sena will share the chief minister's post for two and a half years," Thackeray said.
The Sena had parted ways with the ally BJP after 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls over the post of chief minister.
Thackeray also said he did not need lessons on Hindutva from the BJP.
"BJP leaders visited (then Pakistan prime minister) Nawaz Sharif on his birthday without invitation and bowed before Jinnah's grave," he said.
He also accused the BJP of raising the Hindutva issue to divert attention from poverty, unemployment, and inflation.
"RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale has shown BJP the mirror," he said, referring to Hosabale's statement about the challenges of rising income inequality and unemployment.
Facing the grave challenge of retaining control over the party founded by his father late Bal Thackeray, Uddhav sought support and strength from the Sena cadre, saying the party will bounce back.
"Today I have nothing. But with your support, the Shiv Sena will rise again. I will make a Shiv Sena worker chief minister again. We have to defeat the traitors in every election," he said, in an apparent reference to the November 3 Assembly byelection in Andheri East here.
(Inputs from PTI)