Bhujbal declares end of ‘enmity’ with ThackerayOctober 16th, 2008 - 12:18 am ICT by IANS
Mumbai, Oct 15 (IANS) Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal, on his 61st birthday Wednesday, declared that his “personal enmity” with Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray is “over” and that henceforth, any opposition to his one-time mentor would be at the political level.Speaking at a rally at Shivaji Park here organised by the NCP to felicitate him on his birthday, Bhujbal’s remark comes close on the heels of his decision last week to withdraw an 11-year-old private defamation complaint filed against Thackeray.
He also scotched all speculation that he was a fence-sitter in the NCP, particularly after his name was dragged in the fake stamp paper scam a few years ago.
“There will always be differences among people in all parties, but I will never leave the NCP. I shall always protect the party’s interests like a lion,” asserted Bhujbal, who is also the state PWD minister.
Bhujbal recounted his humble beginnings in Mumbai, living in a 10 feet by 10 feet tin tenement without basic amenities like water, electricity and a toilet, selling vegetables for a living, to occupying the seat of city mayor and deputy chief minister.
He said that over the years he has learnt about the plight of the poor in the country, particularly the deprived Other Backward Castes (OBC) to which he belongs.
He pointed out that while India is progressing on all fronts, social ills like casteism continued to confront the country.
Demanding job reservations in the private sector, Bhujbal said it was sad that some people were of the view that the move would result hamper the work culture and quality.
He admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to do much for the backward classes had he not left the Shiv Sena to join the Congress and later the NCP.
Earlier, a galaxy of leaders from different political parties paid rich tributes to Bhujbal.
The political bigwigs who attended the function include Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil, union cabinet ministers Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel, Sushilkumar Shinde, BJP national general secretary Gopinath Munde, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and Republican Party of India president Ramdas Athawale.