Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday launched a multiple attack on the BJP opposition in the state assembly that convened for two days in a special session. Leader Shiv Sena, who addressed several sensitive issues, including the issue of the Maratha quota, stifled his speech with painful attacks – the sharpest being his response to the recent BJP that he – a right-wing leader – has become secular. The Congress-NCP ally, while announcing a fund for the preservation of ancient temples, said: “This will make you (the opposition) understand that we have not given up Hindutva.”
Mr Thackeray said the state government would resume the restoration and preservation of ancient temples in order to “promote ancient culture and traditions”. He said the project would be undertaken in a phased manner and called on the opposition to cooperate in identifying temples for preservation.
A bitter exchange broke out in October between Mr Thackeray and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari over the reopening of places of worship closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the Governor, in a sarcastic letter, asked if he had “secularized”, Uddhav Thackeray denied that he did not need a Hindutva certificate from anyone.
Mr Thackeray also today responded to accusation by opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis of “undeclared urgency” in connection with police action to prevent Maratha quota activists from entering Mumbai. He referred to the recent action of the Directorate of Enforcement against MP Shiv Sena, Pratap Sarnaik, and said: “The request of the ED to go after those who bring the violation of privileges against your favorite people is political perversity.”
Mr Sarnaik filed a breach of privileged notices against television journalist Arnab Goswami and actress Kangana Ranaut in the office of the assembly president in September.
“Pratap (Sarnaik) was called by the ED. His sons have been called by the ED. His nephew has not been born yet or has also been called by the ED. He may have said as soon as the older child is born bring the baby in front of us, “Mr Thackeray said.
Mr Thackeray also dug into Mr Fadnavis and other BJP state leaders, saying he should be in Delhi to address farmers’ protests.
Regarding the BJP’s attacks on his government’s Covid response, Mr Thackeray said: “WHO, Washington Post have praised the Maharashtra government’s work in limiting the pandemic in the Dharavi. It is sad that you (BJP) cannot see this. “.
Mr Thackeray assured the assembly that the existing OBC quota would remain intact and attempts to create a social divide by spreading rumors about the inclusion of marathons in the reservation category would not be tolerated.
“The legal battle for (restoring) the Maratha quota is in the final stage. We have not changed either the legal team or our position on the Maratha quota. We will win the legal battle,” he said.