Thackeray launches his grandson Aditya
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Sunday night launched his grandson Aditya into politics anointing him as the head of its youth wing at a Dussehra rally, which also witnessed three generations of Thackerays sharing the podium.
Handing over a sword to Aditya to encourage him in his new endeavour -- Yuva Sena, the 83-year-old Thackeray at the same time said he does not believe in "dynasty politics" in the Sena.
Twenty-year-old Aditya, who is making his first major public appearance, is Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray's son.
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Image: Aditya brandishes a sword at the Sena's Dussehra rally in Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
'You may call me a dictator or Hitler. But I did not start this dynasty'
"I never brought Udhhav in Sena. He was made executive president by the 'Krishnakunj' person (official residence of his estranged nephew and MNS chief Raj Thackeray). In fact, I opposed it, but all the party functionaries accepted Uddhav's leadership," Thackeray said at the traditional annual Dusshera rally at central Mumbai's Shivaji Park ground in Mumbai.
"The party works on Shivshahi and not poor democracy. You cannot take decisions without asking me. You may call me a dictator or Hitler. But I did not start this dynasty," he said.
On his grandson leading the party's youth wing, Thackeray said: "I will not promote Aditya. If he wants to join Sena he can."
'Only raking up the Marathi issue will not help'
He also appreciated Aditya and his young colleagues for initiating the Yuva Sena.
"Instead of criticising them, one should appreciate Aditya and his friends for doing some constructive work," he said.
Aditya said Yuva Sena wil be an "entry point" for those who want to join the Sena.
Bal Thackeray also took potshots at Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief and his estranged nephew Raj saying that only copying style was not enough.
"Someone has stolen my style. Now people might say that I am copying him. But that is not enough, thoughts are important. Do you read and keep yourself upgraded? Only raking up the Marathi issue will not help," Thackeray said referring to Raj, who is known for aping the oratory style of his uncle.
'Raj was not even born when I took up the issue'
Ridiculing Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's Marathi agenda, Thackeray said Raj was not even born when he took up the issue.
Uddhav Thackeray slammed Union Home Minister P Chidambaram for his comments on "saffron terrorism".
"When the country is under threat from China and Pakistan, Chidambaram is not doing anything about it. Instead, he is "looking" for saffron terrorism," Uddhav said in his address at the rally.
"Yes, we have a saffron flag and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj gave it to us. Saffron is the colour of revolt," he said.
'This is Sena's roar. It will not fit into given decibel criteria'
Uddhav said it is true that terrorism should not have any colour, but then the Centre is biased on this issue.
Following the Bombay high court's judgement over maintaining a noise level of not more than 50 decibels during the rally, the Shiv Sena had installed sound barriers in the ground, which falls under the silence zone.
Taking potshots at this move, Thackeray said: "This is Sena's roar. It will not fit into given decibel criteria. How will you suppress our voice," he asked.
'Why is Pragya not being treated like Kasab?'
Noting that terrorism does not have any colour, Uddhav accused the Centre of suffering from a bias over the issue.
"We never said free Pragya Singh Thakur, but you treated her badly. Then why Kasab is not being treated in a similar fashion," he said, adding, Parliament terror attack convict Afzal Guru too is yet to be hanged despite being held guilty by the Supreme Court.
'Why is Chidambaram talking about saffron terrorism?'
Bal Thackeray too echoed Uddhav's criticism of Chidambaram.
"Naxalites are attacking people and there is also green terrorism, but Chidambaram is talking about saffron terrorism. Saffron colour is actually a symbol of power," Thackeray said.
On criticism over Sena putting pressure on Mumbai University to withdraw Rohinton Mistry's book Such A Long Journey from the syllabus for allegedly containing derogatory remarks against the party, Uddhav said Sena had only commented that such books should not have been included in college syllabus.
"These books are meant to be sold on railway stalls and not taught to students. Those criticising our stand should also seek re-introduction of the portions dealing with Afzal Khan's killing by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the curriculum," he said.
Kashmir dispute? 'Blame it on Nehru'
Holding late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru responsible for the Kashmir dispute, Thackeray said he made a mistake by giving the state to the Abdullah family.
"Discussions are still going on regarding Kashmir and question is being raised whether is it a part of the country or not. One should straight away finish the issue," he said, adding, now Pakistan and China are also creating trouble for the country at the borders.
Criticising a demand to remove Dadoji Konddeo's statue from one of the museums in Pune, Thackeray said, "Now would the person's achievement be decided by his caste? Who was Netaji Palkar, Bajiprabhu Deshpande then?"
Konddeo, the teacher of Shivaji was a Brahmin and Maratha leaders are opposing his contribution to Shivaji's life. Palkar and Deshpande were also from the same caste, he said.