Putting up a brave face after his party's dismal performance in the Maharashtra assembly polls, Shiv Sena executive chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday described the results as "unexpected" but said all is not lost.
"The results were unexpected and I do not see people celebrating Congress' victory. However, Sena has not lost anything. We worked for the people without keeping the polls in mind," Uddhav said, breaking his silence after the October 22 poll results, which saw his party slip to the fourth slot in the 288-member assembly.
Seeking to boost the sagging spirit of his workers, Uddhav said: "The Sena was fighting for people and there was no other interest. You (activists) should not waver but keep working for the people".
Commenting on the party' poor performance, Uddhav said: "Who else will take the moral responsibility? I am the executive president and I have to take the responsibility. But I am not a criminal and have not committed any crime. That is why I have dared to approach the people."
Dismissing suggestions about his 'failure' as a leader in two consecutive elections (Lok Sabha and Assembly), Uddhav countered, "Who is raising the doubt? My activists who worked with me day and night never asked these questions and they have full faith in me."
On his father and Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's statement that Marathi people had stabbed the party in the back, Uddhav said: "The remarks should be viewed as an expression of his concern for the Marathi people."
"Balasaheb has done a lot for Marathi people and the relation between them is unbreakable. They (Marathi people) would not get upset by the criticism," he said.
Asked if any major changes were expected in the party, Uddhav said: "Changes keep happening where it is necessary."
Without naming the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which damaged prospects of Sena-BJP alliance in 21 seats across the state, Uddhav said: "Two years back, there was a factor in Konkan (hinting at former Sena leader Narayan Rane who left the party) which is not there today. So, the factor (MNS) which is trying to damage us today will not be there in the future."
Uddhav said there was no conflict in Sena-BJP alliance on the issue of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly after a section of the BJP, which has got two more seats than the Sena this time, staked claim to the post held by Sena for the last 10 years.
"The issue would be discussed with BJP and a decision will be taken. The leader will be the one who would effectively raise the people's voice in the House," he said.