Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has said unlike previous rebellions in the party, the revolt this time was aimed at "finishing off" the Sena.
The Sena indulges in politics for Hindutva, whereas the BJP uses Hindutva for its political interests, Thackeray claimed while addressing the Sena workers on Sunday after inaugurating a ward level party office in south Mumbai.
Last month, Sena MLA Eknath Shinde and 39 other legislators revolted against the party leadership, leading to the collapse of the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Shinde was on June 30 sworn in as the chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as the deputy CM.
"Unlike the earlier rebellions, this coup is to finish off the Shiv Sena forever. They have hired professional agencies to counter us. This is a battle between money and loyalty," Thackeray said.
Thackeray, who will turn 62 on July 27, said this time he does not want bouquets on his birthday, but affidavits from the Sena workers that they trust the party and more and more registrations of people as party members.
The battle is now also taken to the Election Commission of India, claiming they are the original Shiv Sena. We need not just vigour, but staunch support and registration of people as party members, Thackeray said.
The former chief minister, without taking any name, targeted his cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) head Raj Thackeray, who had reportedly said he would consider allowing the 40 Sena rebel MLAs to merge into his party if needed.
"I know there is an offer made to these people. I do not know what type of chemical locha' (imbalance) is this, but these people have no idea whom they have messed up with," Uddhav Thackeray said.
Referring to the rebel MLAs, he said, I do not know what to call you." To this, the crowd shouted traitors.
The Sena chief then said, "This is the stamp on their head and they will have to carry it with them wherever they go. They have earned it by their own actions. Despite being representatives of people, they are moving around with protection from the central government."
"The Sena turned ordinary people into extra-ordinary" and that is how these 40 (rebel) MLAs won the election. Now it is time to repeat it with a new set of Shiv Sena workers, he said.