India Today

“THE BJP WILL SOON BE THE OPPOSITION PARTY”

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Despite receiving overtures, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Aaditya Thackeray rules out any future alliance with the BJP. In a candid chat with Dhaval S. Kulkarni, Thackeray also talks about PM Modi, Hindutva, the TINA factor and Sena defectors asking to return. Edited excerpts On the dominant issues in Maharashtr­a

Leaders of the INDIA bloc are taking up issues like inflation, unemployme­nt, deteriorat­ing law and order and agrarian distress, while the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party are speaking on (the) Hindu-Muslim (binary), mutton and fish, Mughals and Pakistan. In short, the BJP, which will be the next opposition party, is touching on all issues except those concerning the country.

On which way the electoral wind is blowing

The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) is doing well. We are taking up issues concerning the interests of Maharashtr­a, whereas the BJP is anti-Maharashtr­a.

On PM Narendra Modi’s overtures to the Shiv Sena (UBT)

The PM had called us a ‘nakli (fake) Sena,’ and then ‘nakli santan’ (fake child). This insults my grandfathe­r Balasaheb Thackeray and my grandmothe­r. He has also insulted Maharashtr­a by referring to Pawar saheb—Nationalis­t Congress Party (Sharadchan­dra Pawar) chief Sharad

Pawar—as a ‘bhatakti atma’ (wandering soul). He has heaped injustice on Maharashtr­a and then insulted it. But look…claims of securing over 400 seats have stopped, while old partners are being remembered.

On whether Shiv Sena (UBT) will respond to them

We will not ally with the BJP till the time it remains dictatoria­l, antiConsti­tution and anti-Maharashtr­a. The party was different in the era of Vajpayee saheb (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) and it believed in democracy. The BJP is making overtures to other parties, which means that it senses a regime change at the Centre. We are ruling out any future alliance with it. How can we support the BJP when corrupt people and rapists are joining it?

On the charge that Shiv Sena (UBT) has diluted its ideology of Hindutva

What right does the BJP have to hand out certificat­es of Hindutva and patriotism? We are committed to these values. We believe in ‘Hridayat Ram and Hatala Kaam’ (having Lord Ram in the heart and work in our hands).

On whether the TINA factor is at work for the BJP

There is no TINA (There Is No Alternativ­e) factor. However, the BJP faces a TINA factor as they have no alternativ­e face. The BJP feels 100 crore-plus people are fools; only one person can run the country. The TINA argument is an insult to Indians.

Modi versus who?

The battle is between Modi and the Constituti­on, good policies and good governance.

Whether Sena (UBT) doors will remain open for Eknath Shinde’s Sena men

There are examples of people leaving a party for their ambition or ideology. But, these 40 darpoks (cowards) have betrayed Maharashtr­a. It is under their watch that industrial projects were sent to Gujarat. They have lowered their heads before Delhi. Not just our doors, even our windows and peepholes are shut for them. Some of them tried to contact us, but we won’t budge. Some are also passing on informatio­n from that camp. This includes people close to him (Shinde) and also Shiv Sena MPs, MLAs and corporator­s. ■

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