Mumbai:- Sounding the bugle for the BMC polls, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday launched a scathing attack on Shiv Sena president and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying he “backstabbed” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and called upon the party workers “not to tolerate traitors”.
“The time has come to show him his place and teach him a lesson. Don’t make a habit of tolerating traitors. You can overlook anything in politics but not treachery. Those who betray others must be punished,” Shah exhorted at a meeting of BJP leaders and workers here.
In a tough speech, he said the Sena broke its alliance with the BJP in 2014 for only 2 seats, and reiterated that “there was no commitment” made to Thackeray in the 2019 polls on the post of Chief Minister.
“Our target is to win 150 seats in the BMC polls. Thacekray betrayed the BJP after seeking votes in the name of Narendra Modi and Devendra Fadnavis. Now our workers must show him his place. BJP must dominate in Mumbai,” said Shah.
Referring to the recent rebellion in the Sena which led to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in June, he said that the BJP did not decimate the Sena.
“The Sena was destroyed and has become weak and in its present state now due to its own arrogance and politics of treason,” said the Union Home Minister.
Shah said the BJP wanted to put an end to the ‘anti-Hindutva politics’ of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and called upon the workers to fan out and make the Sena bite the dust to achieve the BMC Mission 150 in earnest.
In his speech, Deputy CM Fadnavis said the BJP workers must go all-out to win the BMC polls as “its now or never”.
He pointed out that the ‘original Shiv Sena’ (CM Eknath Shinde Group) is with the BJP and the sole aim should be to bag the BMC, for which all leaders, workers and supporters will play an important role.
Shiv Sena spokespersons Dr. Manisha Kayande and ex-Mayor Kishori Pednekar, and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Ambadas Danve slammed Shah for his remarks targeting Thackeray.
“Shah is considered number 2 in the Central government and such vindictive language does not suit his August post. If it was some ordinary BJP worker we could understand, but he is the country’s home minister,” Kayande sharply said.
Flaying Shah’s comments, Pednekar said the Sena is ‘a ground-level party’ so what more will the BJP leader do to make them ‘bite the dust’.
Dismissing the BJP’s contentions, Danve said that if the country’s home minister has to come and help his party fight the BMC elections, “then the Shiv Sena has already achieved victory”.
Earlier, Shah with his family went to Lalbaugcha Raja and prayed there. Later, he visited the homes of Shinde, Fadnavis and city BJP chief Ashish Shelar for Ganesh ‘darshan’.