Shiv Sena Turns 50: Uddhav Thackeray wants alliance with BJP, but ‘with respect’

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Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, his son and Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray, party leader Manohar Joshi and others address a rally in the NSE Grounds in Goregaon to mark the party’s 50 years.

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said Sunday even though the party was not too keen on pulling the plug on its alliance with the BJP, Sainiks should be prepared to fight the municipal elections in the state on their own strength.

“I still do not know what will happen about the alliance. This alliance was on the issue of Hindutva and the Sena worked honestly in maintaining this alliance. I will decide on the future of the alliance but I want you to be prepared to win elections on our own strength,” Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said while addressing party workers at the NSE Grounds in Goregaon to mark the party’s 50 years.

The Sena has been in an uneasy power-sharing alliance with the BJP, which was visible by the loud boos that Sainiks uttered after Thackeray spoke about an alliance with the BJP. It has been trying to reassert its political identity ahead of the crucial BMC polls in 2017 and the Assembly elections in 2019.

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Thackeray added that even though he was not keen on breaking the alliance, he wanted to flesh out a relationship in which Sena’s self-respect was maintained. “We want an alliance where our self-respect will be maintained. The Sena will not run after you. I do not want to break this alliance, but the Sena will not accept an unequal alliance,” Thackeray said during his 45-minute speech.

He also said the Shiv Sena would one day attain power on its own strength in the state.

“We may be a regional party but we are an original party. We have not herded deserters from other parties together to seek power. People ask me it has been 50 years but the party has still not been able to win on its own. We will be in power on our own in the near future. The Sena has never run after power or sacrificed its principles,” Thackeray said, taking a snipe at the BJP.

He said various issues that had been taken up by national parties, including the Ram Janmabhumi agitation and the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits, were never completely addressed.

“In Uttar Pradesh, you have the BJP talking about how Kairana is turning into Kashmir. What are you doing? You are in power at the Centre and in Kashmir too.

If Balasaheb Thackeray could provide protection to Kashmir Pandits sitting here in Mumbai, why can’t you do the same in Kairana,” Thackeray questioned.

He said the BJP seemed to have backtracked on various promises that it had made to the electorate before coming to power. He said the Sena was not explicitly challenging the BJP as it d…

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