The Congress’ wish to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections solo has received a strong reaction from the top leader of its ally Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray, on Saturday.
Thackeray said that Shiv Sena can also give out the call for contesting elections alone, without the support of its allies, however, it’s “not the right time” to indulge in electoral politics as the country is in the middle of a raging pandemic.
His response came during a virtual address on the Shiv Sena’s 55th foundation day.
Recently, the Congress in Maharashtra expressed a wish to contest the next Assembly elections in the state on its own. State Congress chief Nana announced that his party would install a chief minister from the Congress, adding that if the party allows, he himself would be the next chief ministerial face. Hence, it is clear that until Patole installs a Congress chief minister in Maharashtra in 2024, he won’t sit quiet, the Sena said.
The Shiv Sena, too, can give the slogan of going solo, said CM Thackeray. “It is our birthright. But this is not the right time. At a time when the pandemic remains a challenge, we should keep electoral politics aside. Instead, we must use our self-confidence and self-esteem to ensure the well-being of the people and the state,” he said.
“Moreover, one does not have to show strength in elections alone… To me, the term ‘solo’ also relates to self-esteem and self-dignity. It can be exercised to raise voice against injustice. What is the use of hollow slogans when one does not have the ability to bear the weight of a sword,” he said.
While boosting the spirit of Sena workers, he said, “Over the last 55 years, Sena has become stronger. This is not a party hankering for power. At the same time, it will also not buckle under pressure. We have inherited a rich legacy from late Bal Thackeray.”
“Some have lost family members, some jobs and livelihood. The economic situation of the country is worrying. Setting aside party politics, everybody should work together to address these challenges. Else, it would lead to an anarchy-like situation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Thackeray lauded the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Mamata Banerjee thumping victory in the West Bengal elections. “The people of West Bengal have shown what is might. Despite manifold challenges, Mamata Banerjee not only displayed might but also proved (TMC) to be a regional power. She showed asmita (pride) of a regional party,” he said.
Speaking on Sena’s Hindutva agenda, Thackeray said, “Hindutva runs in our veins. To us, Hindutva is nationalism. We don’t care what our critics think or say.”