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Uddhav Thackeray’s ‘soft Hindutva’ failed to strike a chord | India News


MUMBAI: The intra-party uprising in Shiv Sena underscores CM Uddhav Thackeray‘s failure to convince Shiv Sainiks that his version of soft Hindutva, vis-a-vis BJP’s aggressive edition, will be acceptable to the party’s loyal voters, said observers on Wednesday.
In a hurry to keep BJP away from power, Thackeray teamed up with Maharashtra’s secular forces after the 2019 state assembly elections without sparing a thought for Marathi voters, many of who have for over three decades been weaned on Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva rhetoric.
“An archetypical Marathi manoos loves the famous poem which lauds Maharashtra as a land of rocks and rugged terrain. Sena lost its ideological moorings by joining hands with NCP-Congress, which are diametrically opposed to it,” said Vinod Pawar, noted cultural activist and documentary maker.
“Either Thackeray failed to realise that the Sena-NCP-Congress experiment will not go down well with the party rank and file or the CM took his followers for granted, which is worse,” said actor-director Vishwas Sohoni. “Eknath Shinde tapped the discontent,” he added. As head of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) regime, Thackeray heartily poured ridicule on RSS-BJP in his speeches and interviews, and Saamna routinely slammed PM Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah.
However, the Sainik-on-the-street thought things were going too far when Saamna opposed the scrapping of Article 370, and criticised ‘Kashmir Files,’ a Vivek Agnihotri film on exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s. “Thackeray sacrificed Sena’s agenda in haste at the MVA’s altar. He didn’t realise that his political somersault would affect partymen’s morale,” said Pawar. When the state BJP launched a well-orchestrated campaign accusing Thackeray of having jettisoned Balasaheb’s saffron legacy for power, the CM, in a poorly-planned damage-control exercise, began to proclaim his allegiance to Hindutva.
A party functionary admitted that MVA minister Aditya Thackeray’s recent visit to Ayodhya was a desperate move by Matoshree to regain Sena’s lost ground on the Hindutva issue. “However, this didn’t cut much ice with Sainiks,” he added.
“Shinde’s post-revolt tweet in which he questions the chief minister’s committment to Hindutva echoes views of a large section of Sainiks,” said a former Sena corporator.
Many in Sena think that Thackeray handled the Covid crisis deftly and that his copybook has by and large been spotless. However, his aloof nature turned out to be a hindrance for party workers and senior functionaries as well.
Also, excessive affection for family members compounded matters for the chief minister. Shinde flew off the handle when a Thackeray kin insisted on going through the files of the cash-rich urban development and public works department which the Thane rebel holds.
Stories of how the CM wouldn’t take calls of senior NCP ministers, leave alone those from the Sena, are aplenty. “There was no agency in the CMO to guide us through the labyrinth of the Mantralaya departments. We never felt the government belonged to us. In fact, NCP ministers were often more helpful to us than our ministers,” said the former Sena corporator.



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