Uddhav Thackeray asserts his leadership of Shiv Sena (Roundup)

October 10th, 2008 - 12:34 am ICT by IANS  

Uddhav ThackerayMumbai, Oct 9 (IANS) Shiv Sena’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray amply demonstrated that he has outgrown his cub days, and came into his own right as the next Sena tiger in waiting at an impressive speech at the party’s customary Dussehra rally Thursday.As senior party leaders fawned over him, prior to the arrival of Sena chief Bal Thackeray, it became amply clear to all those present at the massive gathering at Shivaji Park as to who wields the real authority in the party now.

Getting up confidently to address the gathering from the huge stage erected for the rally, Udhav dwelt on a variety of topics, concerning Mumbai, the state and national issues, his speech laced with sarcasm and wit, on the lines of his father.

He endeared himself to the crowds with his opening remarks. “To all those who ask - Mumbai belongs to whose father? - I say, it belongs to our fathers,” he thundered, evoking huge applause.

He challenged all such “Go to Kolkata, or Chennai or Hyderabad and ask the same question there and see the reaction there. Everybody has taken the Marathis for granted. Not anymore. Marathi (language) and Maharashtrians must be respected,” he maintained.

In the same vein, he trained his guns on the three union cabinet ministers at the centre from this state - Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

He said when the country is ravaged by bomb blasts and innocents were being killed, the home minister was more concerned about his sartorial tastes.

Referring to Pawar, he said though hundreds of farmers are committing suicides, the union agriculture minister appears completely unperturbed.

Shinde’s name figured in an indirect reference to the severe energy crisis that has gripped the state over the past few years. “Are they human beings or mere stones?” he wondered.

Uddhav pointed out that whenever there are calamities anywhere in the country, Mumbai and Maharashtra have led the way and helped the people suffering everywhere in the country.

“But when it comes to Maharashtra or Marathis, nobody bothers, but everybody wants money from Mumbai and continues to exploit this city,” he said.

Reiterating the issue of Marathis was significant to the very survival of Mumbai and the state, and would remain a political issue, Uddhav said while Hindutva is like the breath, Marathi is the soul - one cannot exist without the other.

He urged his partymen to unite and work for bringing the Shiv Sena back to power in Maharashtra, for as long as the Congress continued to rule the state, it would not progress.

“Unless we are united, the Congress will succeed in its efforts to destroy us. In the past, it has made many attempts to break us, but the Sena chief (his father Bal Thackeray) effectively foiled them,” he said.

He also indirectly chided people like cousin Raj Thackeray, and former partymen Narayan Rane and Chhagan Bhujbal, both ministers in the state government, for expressing concern over Bal Thackeray’s health. “They need not worry, we are there to worry about him.”

Others who addressed the rally included former chief minister and former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi, Opposition Leader in the state assembly Ramdas Kadam and senior party leader Subhash Desai.

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