Ready for elections, nobody can snatch Shiv Sena poll symbol: Uddhav

Mumbai, July 8 (IANS) Throwing a challenge at the new government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said his party was ready “to face the elections” and go to the peoples’ court, while asserting that “nobody can snatch the party’s iconic poll symbol of bow and arrow’.
Referring to the recent catastrophe that has left the Shiv Sena emasculated after an internal revolt, Thackeray, who quit last month as CM, said the common masses “don’t like these (political) games”.
“The people are asking the same questions – why they (the rebels) behaved like this even when the party gave them so many posts… did so much for them. So many women activists had tears in their eyes yesterday. I thank the masses from the bottom of my heart,” said the Sena chief.
“Let there be elections… If we have committed a mistake, the masses will not vote for us, we will accept their mandate and we shall sit back,” he added, throwing the gauntlet at the Shinde-Fadnavis government.
On the June 20 rebellion which led to the collapse of the 31-month-old Maha Vikas Aghadi government he headed, Thackeray said that whatever has taken place now could have happened even two-and-half-years ago, “with dignity and without spending thousands of crores of rupees”.
Thackeray admitted that even he had felt “bad” after the rebellion of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs that led to the Bharatiya Janata Party-supported government of Shinde-Fadnavis taking office on June 30.
“They (rebels) kept quiet against those who targeted the Thackerays, used perverse language against my family and myself. But now, they have gone and sat in those very peoples’ lap,” reiterated Thackeray at a media conference in his home ‘Matoshri’.
Rubbishing media speculation and claims by some rebels, Thackeray asserted that “nobody can steal or take away anything that belongs to the party”, including its well-known bow-and-arrow election symbol.
“They are spreading confusion… There’s a big difference between a legislature party and the registered political party in the field. No matter how many legislators go away, the party doesn’t cease to exista A false impression is being created in peoples’ minds, don’t fall prey to it,” Thackeray said.
The ex-CM said that he has already consulted top legal experts who have assured that the party’s bow and arrow symbol belongs to and will remain with the Shiv Sena.
He also lauded the 16 MLAs who stayed with him “despite all kinds of threats” but they were undeterred and stuck together with the belief in ‘Saytyameva Jayate’.
Thackeray said that the Supreme Court decision on July 11 would give an indication towards which direction democracy will head in this country.
“The decision will be very significant as it will decide on upholding the Constitution. We have full faith in the judiciary,” he declared.
Referring to nearly 100 former municipal corporators from Navi Mumbai and Thane who have quit to join the Shinde group, Thackeray said they may probably be worried they would be denied tickets for the next civic elections and hence taken the decision.
Dwelling upon the ongoing “leaks” plaguing the party, he said the 56-year-old Shiv Sena is still strong and recalled the days when it started with a single legislator, then slowly grew to form governments in the state, giving opportunity to ordinary workers and rewarding them with high posts.
“The corporators may have gone, but the municipal corporations are still there.. As long as the people are with the Shiv Sena, there is no danger,” he said.

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