Mumbai | January 23, 2006 5:43:12 PM IST
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, while expressing a desire that some day a Maharashtrian should occupy the Prime Minister’s chair, has opined that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar appears to be most suitable for that post.
”If it is in the fate of Mr Pawar to become the prime minister, we will welcome it,” Mr Thackeray said of his arch political rival in an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece ”Saamna” today on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Recalling the sacrifices made by Maharashtrians like Rango Bapuji, Tatya Tope, Rani Laxmibai, Nanasaheb Peshave and Bal Gangadhar Tilak during the freedom struggle and thereafter, Mr Thackeray rued that the Congress had never allowed a Maharastrian to become either the prime minister or the president.
He recalled that while other princely states had surrendered before the British, it was the Maharashtrians who had continued to resist the British rulers.
But the Congress, forgetting the contributions of the Maharashtrians, even insulted veteran leader of the stature of the late Yashvantrao Chavan, Mr Thackeray rued.
A Maharashtrian should become the prime minister of the country, Mr Thackeray said. But, that person should be one who would not be a mere puppet but capable of proving the mettle of Shivaji’s Maharashtra, he went on to add.
Speaking of his own party, Mr Thackeray said the Shiv Sena’s ”Hindutva” ideology was not for political gains but had been the party’s base since its formation. He recalled that his father Prabodhankar Keshav Thackeray had propounded ”Hindutva” way back in 1922.
The Shiv Sena, he said, had never believed in electoral politics.
The growth of the party, instead, depended on its ”mavalas (foot soldiers)”.
The party has grown into a huge tree due to the efforts of the ”mavalas”. Some ”crows” had taken shelter on this tree but had flown away after fulfilling their selfish interests, Mr Thackeray said referring to rebellious elements within the party, without naming any one.
But, the Shiv Sena does not depend on such crows. It is the ”mavalas” who will ensure that the party grows stronger in the days to come, he said.
Mr Thackeray, incidentally, had in an an interview in the same newspaper a week ago, quoted the famous Marathi song ”Ya chimanyano Parat Phira” which loosely translated means ”All you birds come back”, referring to all those who had deserted the Shiv Sena.
Mr Thackeray said he always cared for Maharashtra’s pride and had ingrained it in the minds of the Shivsainiks. It is for this reason that even rivals accept that Shiv Sena’s existence is necessary to uphold the interests of the Maharashtrians, he claimed.
While concluding the editorial, Mr Thackeray quoted veteran Marathi Jnanapeeth awardee V S Khandekar, according to whom, ”The relations of principles are more dearer than that of the blood.” UNI