Ahead of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s rally at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) on May 14, the Mumbai unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday released a cartoon depicting the Shiv Sena chief’s speech had been written by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar.
Sena hit back, saying Goddess Saraswati had always blessed the Thackerays, so they did not need any script.
The cartoon, posted on BJP’s official twitter handle, features Pawar and Thackeray with the NCP chief telling the CM in Marathi to memorise the script given by him and Thackeray replying in affirmative. The conversation comes with teasers of old speeches by Bal Thackeray and Uddhav being telecast on a TV in front of Pawar. The cartoon has been released with the comment: ‘the entire Maharashtra knows this’.
The cartoon comes in the backdrop of the criticism by Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi leaders that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s speech for his April 2 rally at Shivaji Park was prepared by BJP. After Raj asserted his Hindutva agenda at the rally by announcing to oppose the loudspeakers on mosques, the three parties – Sena, MNS, and BJP – have been fighting to grab a piece of the Hindutva pie.
At the Mumbai rally, Thackeray is expected to respond to the attacks by BJP and MNS. Sena insiders said he would speak on the Hindutva agenda of the party and the rally would also set the tone for the party’s campaign for the elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Thackeray is slated to address another public rally at Aurangabad on June 8. Interestingly, leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis will speak at a rally in Mumbai on May 15.
Sena has released multiple teasers in the last few days, appealing to the party workers to join the rally at BKC. The teasers featuring party founder Bal Thackeray and incumbent chief Uddhav are seen reinforcing the Hindutva agenda. In one of the teasers, the background comment says Mumbai belongs to the ‘saheb’, while in another, Bal Thackeray says he is the Sena ‘pramukh’ because of the support of the Shiv Sainiks. The teasers have also exhorted Sainiks to “hear the true assent of Hindutva” next week.
Manisha Kayande, Sena spokesperson and legislator, said, “BJP has been expressing its frustration in every possible way. Goddess Saraswati has always blessed the Thackerays, so they do not need any script. Uddhav ji’s attacks are spontaneous, unlike the script that Fadnavis gets from Delhi. BJP writes scripts for Raj Thackeray, [Gunaratna] Sadavarte, and the Ranas.”