he stance of Balasaheb Thackeray against the South Indians who started out as a cartoonist and later went to form Shiv Sena in 1966 was clear in his speeches and columns that he wrote in his weekly magazine Marmik. Often cited as a great orator, Thackeray targeted South Indians for their growing influx in Mumbai and demanded that preference be given to the original Marathis. He referred to the South Indians as ‘Lungiwala’ and ‘Madrasis’ in a derogatory manner. The Shiv Sena created by Thackeray attacked South Indians in the 1960s and 70s, and vandalised their restaurants and homes. In 2008, Biharis and UPites living in Mumbai (the bhaiyyas who eke out a livelihood as milk and newspaper vendors, taxi drivers etc.) were described as infiltrators and attacked, their taxis smashed, and several beaten up. Muslims were also vilified. This, of course, created a vote bank for Thackeray, based on hatred.
Later, Balasaheb met Karunanidhi and then stopped the opposition and agitation against the South Indians. Now we are in the early 2020s. The Shiv Sena is neither against the South Indians nor against Muslims because their political agenda does not permit them to sustain with such hate. An old slogan got revived when Aaditya Thackeray sported a lungi. It was his latest experiment to connect with voters. The electoral debut of Aaditya, the first member of his family to take the poll plunge, made Mumbai’s Worli the most talked about seat and all eyes were on how he fares. Well, after Aaditya’s win the Thackerays’ realised that the hate politics will not fetch them a fortune. Here comes appeasing all those sectors against which once they strained attacks.
Uddhav Thackeray is not much of a philosopher or thinker. He was there as the Shiv Sena Pramukh only and only because he is Balasaheb Thackeray’s son. Aaditya has future at the party only because he is the son of Uddhav Thackeray and grandson of Balasaheb. He has displayed good organisational skills but his thinking is confused and his political strategy is poor. Nobody (including Uddhav) knew at the time of formation of Maharashtra Govt in 2014 whether Sena would be backing the BJP govt. Again nobody knew what share Sena was going to get. Even at the time of the voting, nobody was sure what exactly Sena did. They were expected to sit with the opposition judging by the severity of criticism of BJP. Uddhav never bothered to clarify.
Uddhav never surprised people with his attacks on BJP and Modi, in spite of staying in the alliance. No one was really surprised when he broke the alliance and joined hands with Congress and NCP. As Shiv Sena is known to be a communal party, even the Congress is on the same lines of ideology. Congress poses as secular just for Muslim votes. It has aligned with the Muslim league in Kerala which is out and out a communal party. It has supported Abdullahs in Kashmir. So many examples can be given to nullify the secularism of this party. Even Muslims understood it and started voting for any alternative that came their way (SP, BSP, TMC etc.). Balasaheb was called Hindu Hriday Samrat.
He openly accepted that Babri Masjid was demolished by his Shiv Sainiks when BJP stalwarts shirked from doing so. In the Bombay riots, Shiv Sena was at the forefront in defending Bombay. It was not a secular party by any means. In the recent past, Sena has diluted its Hindutva to suit its new stance and to fit in with the other two parties in a new alliance. It is political parties and leaders mainly from Congress and opposition parties who are defining and giving different meanings for secularism. Congress has been the most communal party since independence till date and from Mahatma Gandhi to the present Gandhis.
Does their pro-Muslim and appeasement politics not come under communalism? With vote bank politics, all opposition parties are going in for appeasement politics only for getting the Muslim vote. Shiv Sena, though had earlier Hindu ideology, now, after getting the vote through Hindu ideology with utter selfishness for the sake of power and being power mongered, has now made complete U Turn and joined with anti-Hindu forces and become totally communal now. Congress, the ideology of the party would never change from communalism to secularism. It is most unfortunate that beyond religion, most of the political parties are dividing the people on the basis of castes and sub castes, for example Vokkaligas and Lingayats in Karnataka Reddys and Kammas in Andhra and Telangana, Yadavs and others in Uttar Pradesh. We could see some kind of awareness in the electorate in the Parliament Elections wherein at least small percentage of people cast their votes shedding the basis of caste and religion and I am sure that in the years to come we shall move more in this direction.Recently, nobody knew how Sena is going to vote for the No Confidence motion. A whip was issued to vote to support Modi govt and hastily withdrawn. Finally, they remained absent.
Maratha reservations: again no one is sure what Shiv Sena’s stand is. They opposed it initially and later on supported it if there is no violence. Only one consistency I have noted is that Sharad Pawar is a persona non grata and so is Narayan Rane. Whatever Narayan Rane proposes Sena automatically opposes it. The party staked everything to defeat Rane twice. He was finally saved politically only by getting a nomination to the higher house. Sena has made it impossible for him to win democratically. That’s the only plus and consistent point I can think of. But that does not mean Sena lost any popularity. Throughout it was contesting in alliance with BJP and taking away lion’s share of seats, by bullying BJP. BJP had to cave because of circumstances. After the two parties started contesting separately, the true picture is revealing. Sena secured 17.2 per cent votes and 63 seats in Maharashtra assembly elections and 84 seats in BMC with 37 per cent votes, whereas BJP secured 27.8 per cent and 122 seats. In BMC it secured 36 per cent and 82 seats. When we study these it comes to light that SS has over estimated itself.
Now having come to know that the Shiv Sena wants to woo South Indians and Muslim voters, this clearly indicates greed has taken over to the ideologies of their party. Uddhav is weak minded and not as strong as his father. Sena was never a secular party, owing to circumstantial pressure it is acting pseudo secular. Bal Thackeray had opposed the name change of Marathwada University to Dr. Ambedkar University. Before this movement, Sena had no presence in Marathwada. During this movement SS literally killed around 10 Dalits to suppress their demands. Moreover, Bal Thackeray had said that ‘these people do not have flour to eat and why do they need university in their name’. That was his feeling for the deprived Hindus.
Ironically SS made political alliance with RPI [the Party of Dalits] a few years back ago. Bal Thackeray openly used to say that his politics is meant for the 67 percent population [33% are Dalits]. That was his feeling for the deprived Hindus. SS has now made an alliance with RPI [a political party of Dalits]. Bal Thackeray opposed Pakistani cricketers to enter India. Surprisingly Javed Miandad entered India, entered Maharashtra, entered Mumbai and also Matoshree [Bal Thackeray’s residence at Mumbai] had a cup of tea and went back to Pakistan very safely to attend the marriage ceremony of his kid with Dawood Ibrahim’s kid. That was his power. SS discriminated the different classes within Hindus. It’s a complete misunderstanding that political parties have ideologies. Each one of them says they want to serve Indians but all of them actually loot India. Other than the politician nobody is making money. So the economy is all about who paid how much amount to whom? The common man has been wiped out of the plan. He is just a dumb voter.
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