Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said the BJP doesn't hold "patent" on Hindutva and claimed that the late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had showed BJP that the combination of "saffron and Hindutva" will help in achieving power in Centre.
Thackeray also said Sena has always been committed to the "bhagva" (saffron) and Hindutva "unlike BJP which had different names like Bharatiya Jan Sangh and Jan Sangh which propagated different ideologies".
Joining virtually the campaign for Maha Vikas Aghadi's (MVA) candidate Jayashree Jadhav, who belongs to Congress, for the April 12 bypoll from the Kolhapur North seat, Thackeray also blamed BJP for the defeat of the Shiv Sena nominee from the constituency in the 2019 polls despite the alliance between the two parties at that time.
He wondered if BJP had had a hidden alliance with Congress in this constituency in the 2019 polls.
"The BJP doesn't have the patent for Hindutva. I wonder had Lord Ram not been born what issue the BJP would have raised in politics. Since BJP is bereft of issues it is talking about religion and (spreading) hatred," Thackeray said.
Thackeray said it was his father Bal Thackeray who had shown them (BJP) that saffron and Hindutva will lead them on the road to Delhi.
Speaking on the Kolhapur North bypoll, Thackeray said that votes of Congress increased in the 2019 polls ((in Kolhapur North) compared to the 2014 elections which resulted in the defeat of Shiv Sena's nominee despite the alliance with the BJP.
"Where did the BJP's votes go in 2019? Did you (BJP) have a hidden alliance with Congress at that time?" Thackeray asked.
Thackeray also said that if the BJP claims to respect Bal Thackeray then why is that party opposing the proposal to name the upcoming Navi Mumbai international airport after the late Sena founder.
"Why has the BJP gone back on its word and commitment given by (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah in Balasaheb's room which I consider a temple," Thackeray asked, in an apparent reference to his claim that BJP had promised the CM's post to Sena in the 2019 polls.
The issue of sharing the chief minister's post after the state elections in 2019 led to the break up between the Sena and the BJP.
The BJP and Shah had rejected Thackeray's claims regarding the purported promise on the CM's post.
Thackeray, whose party heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government which includes NCP and Congress, also said that the MVA alliance experiment is successful.
"This is the reason that Sena didn't stake the claim for the Kolhapur North seat", he said."
Thackeray said MVA partners discussed in a recent meeting if they are falling short.
"We realised that it is not the governance and administration we are lacking but we are falling short in spreading lies," he said in a dig at BJP.
Thackeray said that votes of Congress increased in the 2019 polls (in Kolhapur North) compared to the 2014 elections which resulted in the defeat of Shiv Sena's nominee despite the alliance with the BJP at that time.
"The BJP had severed ties with Sena in the 2014 elections. In that election, the Sena candidate won 69,736 votes in the Kolhapur North assembly segment while the BJP secured 40,104 votes. Congress polled 47,315 votes.
"For 2019 polls, Shiv Sena and BJP joined hands once again but the Sena nominee bagged 75,854 votes, a meagre rise of 5,000-6,000 votes. The Congress candidate secured 91,000 votes. I want to ask where did BJP's 40,000 votes go? Who will clarify if these votes were transferred to Congress? Shiv Sena plays its politics openly and is not a backstabber," the Sena chief said.
In the 2019 assembly elections, Congress candidate Chandrakant Jadhav defeated then Shiv Sena MLA Rajesh Kshirsagar to win the Kolhapur North segment.
Jadhav's death necessitated the April 12 byelection.
MVA candidate Jayashree Jadhav, wife of the late Jadhav, will face BJP's Satyajit Kadam in the upcoming bypoll.
The contest is seen as the first direct face-off between Congress and BJP after the Sena decided to not stake a claim for the Kolhapur North constituency.