Hitting the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh, Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray on Thursday launched a sharp attack on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, saying “hatred between religions” has increased during his rule and time has come for a change.
Thackeray addressed a well-attended public meeting in Dumariyagang assembly seat in Siddharthnagar district, terming Shiv Sena candidate Shailedra alias Raju Shrivastav as an “agent of change”. He was also scheduled to address a public meeting in Koraon assembly seat in Prayagraj district, where the party has fielded Arti Kol.
Invoking Shiv Sena founder and grandfather Bal Thackeray, he hit out at the BJP for spreading hatred among communities in the name of religion and dubbing farmers, who had protested against the now-repealed farm laws as “Maoists, extremists and terrorists”.
“Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray always said politics should be for the welfare of the people. This is reflected in the politics of Shiv Sena. Governance is not about religion, but about the welfare of the people,” the 31-year-old Thackeray scion said.
Thackeray, son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, is being projected as the next generation leader of the Shiv Sena and is taking keen interest in the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal elections.
Shiv Sena had fielded 60 candidates in the Uttar Pradesh elections. However, 41 are in fray as the Election Commission had rejected the candidature of 19.
Thackeray, the minister for Tourism and Environment in the Maharashtra government, regretted that Shiv Sena was part of the NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi which he said had committed a string of mistakes.
He said the people had given an overwhelming mandate to the BJP in 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections and the general elections in 2019.
“The BJP never fulfilled the promises it made, but only spread hatred and fear. It only talks about the state being in danger. This is the land of Shri Ram. There is no danger here,” Thackeray said.
He said hatred between religions had increased during the rule of Adityanath and it was now time to ring in change.
“The chief minister of the day will become a former chief minister after the elections,” Thackeray said amid slogans “UP ki Shaan, Teer Kaman, Teer-Kaman” (Pride of UP, bow and arrow). Bow and arrow is the election symbol of Shiv Sena.
The Shiv Sena takes pride in its association with the Ram Temple movement in Ayodhya and has asserted that its activists were among those who demolished the Babri Masjid. The party has been claiming that the BJP had shied away from taking responsibility for the demolition of the Babri Masjid.