Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said the Shiv Sena will remain on the path of Hindutva amidst attacks from his party colleagues on the issue, even as Rahul Gandhi, a key leader of his alliance partner Congress, has been slamming the ideology lately, saying it only seeks power.
The developments only make the contradictions in the alliance starker, as pointed out by rebel leader Eknath Shinde and 33 other MLAs in a joint letter on Wednesday.
“Some are raising questions about our Hindutva. Shiv Sena and Hindutva are two sides of the same coin. Some allege that this is no longer Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena. We are carrying the same thoughts of Balasaheb. Shiv Sena did a lot for Hindutva,” the CM said to counter the sentiments expressed by Shinde and others with him.
However, Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly criticised Hindutva over the past few months, terming it distinctive from Hinduism. The Congress is a key ally in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of Maharashtra.
“Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh or a Muslim? Hindutva of course is. Hinduism is for satya (truth), Hindutva seeks satta (power). Those who confront challenges are Hindus and those who run away from problems out of fear are the ones who follow Hindutva,” Rahul had said last year at a Congress training camp.
Those who believe in the ideology of Hindutva bow before anyone, he added.
“They bowed before the British and they bow before money because there is no truth in their hearts,” Rahul said.
He also added on another occasion that India is a country of Hindus and not ‘Hindutvavadis’, who can do anything to remain in power. “Since 2014, it’s the Hindutvavadis who are in power, and not Hindus. We need to oust them and bring the rule of Hindus. Mahatma Gandhi was Hindu, and Godse was Hindutvavadi,” the Congress MP said.
Eknath Shinde and 33 other MLAs in their letter on Wednesday highlighted such contradictions in the MVA alliance.
“There is enormous discontent amongst the cadres of our party, Shiv Sena, for forming the government with NCP and Congress, who are ideologically opposed to our party. There has been a compromise on the principles of our party which has a fierce ideological base…for the sake of achieving power. The ideology of our party’s leader Balasaheb Thackeray was not to compromise on principle of Hindutva, which was defeated on first day itself by aligning with the opposing ideologies,” Shinde and others said in their letter.