Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies will fight all elections, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal corporation (BMC) poll, together. Thackeray (60), who is heading the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance ministry, was speaking to select media at his official residence Varsha in south Mumbai, as the MVA regime completes a year in office on Saturday.
"The MVA will fight all elections including the BMC poll (due in 2022) together," Thackeray said, adding that he did not feel the need to react to speculation that the MVA partners will fight the polls separately. Asserting that his government is stable, Thackeray said the alliance partners are perceived to be ideologically different but the interests of the state and welfare of people binds the three parties together.
"We were in an ideological alliance earlier but the very foundation of that ideology, (based on) trust and faith, was betrayed," Thackeray said, alluding to the power his Shiv Sena party shared in the state with the BJP during 1995-1999 and again during 2014-19. Thackeray defended his party's alliance with political rivals Congress and NCP to form government, saying Shiv Sena was in alliance with a partner (BJP) which had a dark mind.
"You will now realise what we went through when we were in alliance with BJP. The pervert mind is now exposed," he said, referring to BJP targeting his wife Rashmi in land deals and son Aaditya in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. Thackeray said the most unforgettable moment last year was the "betrayal by a friend" of 25 to 30 years. "Perversion and being cultured are different. Pervert politics is being seen now," he said, slamming the BJP.
Shiv Sena had criticised BJP on policy matters and did not target family members, he said. On Hindutva, Thackeray said, "My definition of Hindutva hasn't changed. It is cultured and not pervert like the BJP. Culture is very important in Hindutva." "When we are with you (BJP), we are good. The land deals happened when you were in government," Thackeray said, referring to BJP's claim that Rashmi Thackeray had land deals with Anvay Naik, the architect who committed suicide in 2018.
He said BJP leaders targeting him are all outsiders and do not belong to the 'original' BJP. "Is the BJP being run by outsiders now," he asked. Asked about his national ambitions, Thackeray said the three-party alliance in Maharashtra against the BJP did send a message at national level.
"I will keep walking. I took up this responsibility (chief minister's post) out of anger over BJP's betrayal.There is no point in keeping undue expectations. Let us see what happens," he said.
"He can keep dreaming. To dream is not a crime," Thackeray said when asked about the claim by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that he would return to power. Thackeray also rubbished reports that the Sharad Pawar-led NCP may go with the BJP. "I am confident that NCP will stay in the MVA," he added.
He also made light of criticism that the MVA regime was "remote-controlled" by Pawar. "Whenever he (Pawar) meets me, he shares his experiences and nothing else," Thackeray said. "I don't sit with a slate and chalk when he comes to me," he added. Thackeray said tackling the coronavirus pandemic in the early days of his tenure was a daunting and challenging task.
"Though I lacked administrative skills, my political allies and bureaucracy worked in unison with me. We are the first state to have a task force and guidelines for COVID-19 treatment. Field hospitals in Mumbai were created in 17 days," he said. Despite the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Maharashtra signed several MoUs for investment in the state, Thackeray said.
"Around 60 to 70 per cent of MoUs worth Rs 17000 crore were signed in June and are on path of implementation in terms of granting of permissions and land acquisition for the projects. MoUs worth Rs 35000 crore more were also signed recently," he said.