Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has said that if Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, had been alive, he would have commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his efforts in building the Ram temple in Ayodhya and abolishing Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Shinde was addressing a rally on Monday at Rajapur in Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha constituency of Maharashtra as part of his party's 'Shiv Sankalp' mass outreach programme for the general elections due in a few months.
The consecration ceremony for the Ram temple is set to take place in the city of Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, on 22 January.
In 2019, the Centre repealed certain provisions of Article 370, which had previously granted special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.
"The abrogation of Article 370 and construction of the Ram temple were Balasaheb Thackeray's dreams. These have now materialised because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Had Balasaheb been alive, he would have patted Modi's back in appreciation," Shinde said, PTI reported.
Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray passed away in 2012.
In June 2022, Shinde's revolt against the leadership of Shiv Sena resulted in a party split and the downfall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
However, CM Shinde asserted that his actions were not driven by self-interest, but rather to perpetuate "Balasaheb's thoughts".
"We are the true descendants of his thoughts. When the Shiv Sena (UBT) asked for Rs 50 crore lying in the accounts of Shiv Sena, we gave the money. We are not here for money," he said.
After the split, the Election Commission gave the Shiv Sena name and 'bow and arrow' symbol to Shinde's faction. The Shiv Sena (UBT) led by Uddhav Thackeray has the flaming torch as its symbol.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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