Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said since he had seen the BJP deceive his "gullible" father and Sena founder Bal Thackeray, he himself was acting shrewdly with that party and cannot ignore the "games" it played in the guise of Hindutva.
In a veiled attack on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president and his estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, the chief minister said he does not pay attention to "new players" of Hindutva. Without naming the MNS, he also said the party was making experiments to see if any cause was working for it or not.
Speaking during an interaction organised by Marathi daily 'Loksatta', Uddhav Thackeray accused the BJP of deceiving Bal Thackeray during the latter's lifetime when the two parties were still partners.
"It is alleged that the Shiv Sena is not the same which it was during Balasaheb Thackeray's time. It is right. Balasaheb bhole hote (Balasaheb was gullible)," he said.
"I have myself seen how you deceived Balasaheb from time to time. Hence, I am behaving a bit shrewdly with you. I am not gullible. He was ignoring the games you played in the guise of Hindutva. But I won't ignore it," he added.
The chief minister said his father inculcated Hindutva in him.
When asked about Raj Thackeray, he said, "I don't pay attention to such players. People have experienced exactly what games these players play and on what grounds. Sometimes they play the game of Marathi, sometimes of Hindutva…the people of Maharashtra have seen such games."
In the past, the MNS had raised the cause of Marathi people, while of late it has taken a pro-Hindutva stand. In his rally held last month, Raj Thackeray had given an ultimatum to the state government to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3, failing which Hanuman Chalisa would be played at a higher volume outside these religious places.
"...In the last two years, theatres and cinema halls were shut due to the pandemic. So, if one is getting entertained for free, why shouldn't he/she enjoy it?" Uddhav Thackerat quipped, apparently referring to the speeches made by Raj Thackeray, who is scheduled to address a public rally in Aurangabad Sunday evening.
The chief minister further said a consumer returns a product if he/she does not like it in the era of marketing.
Similarly, the party is making experiments to see if a cause is working for it or not, he said without naming the MNS. The Shiv Sena is a "Hindutvawadi" party, he added.
He said the Supreme Court's order on noise pollution is meant for the entire country and the Centre should issue an order to implement the same.
The chief minister said he had not read the apex court's order, but tried to understand it. He added that from what he understood, the order does not talk about removing only certain loudspeakers.
"People from all religions will have to follow this," he added. Thackeray also accused the BJP of playing vendetta politics in Maharashtra.
The chief minister did not specify his comment, but it is believed he was referring to the actions taken by central agencies against the leaders of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the state.