Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena Uddhav Thackeray today announced that his government in Maharashtra will be donating Rs 1 crore to help in the construction of the Ram Mandir Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya. Thackeray also announced that his govt will build a Maharashtra Bhawan in Ayodhya.
Shiv Sena is in alliance with ideological rivals Congress, who raised aspersions over the existence of Lord Ram, and never supported the Ram Mandir movement.
Thackeray was in the temple town since the first time after presiding over the helm of affairs at Maharashtra, following a bitter row with the erstwhile alliance partner-BJP, over the chief ministerial position.
Indicating that he will march to his own beat, Uddhav claimed that though he may have parted ways with the BJP and joined hands with ideological rivals, he has not eschewed the cause of Hindutva. “I may have broken ranks with the BJP but Hindutva is a different thing and I have not parted ways with it,” he told a gathering in Ayodhya, where he was scheduled to perform an aarti, but called it off due to growing concerns over the coronavirus. He affirmed that BJP and Hindutva are different things, and Shiv Sena has distanced only from BJP, not Hindutva.
Speaking about his visit to the Ayodhya, Uddhav asserted that he has come to Ram Lalla’s city to seek his blessings. “I have come here to seek Ram Lalla’s blessings. I have been here thrice in the last 1.5 years and today I am here with several members of ‘Bhagwa’ family. I will also offer prayers today,” Thackeray said.
It is noteworthy to mention that Shiv Sena severed its alliance with the BJP and formed an opportunistic coalition government with political opponents NCP and Congress in December 2019. With its eyes firmly fixed on the Chief Ministerial berth, Shiv Sena had no qualms in teaming up with the Congress party who had once questioned the existence of Lord Ram in the Supreme Court.
The three parties hashed out a Common Minimum Program (CMP) which interestingly vowed to uphold ‘secular’ values of the constitution. The Preamble of the CMP said that the alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP are committed to upholding the “secular values” of the Constitution. It also says that on contentious issues that affect either the “secular fabric of the nation”, the three parties will take a “joint view” after holding consultations.
It was widely argued then that Shiv Sena relinquished the cause of Hindutva and acquiesced to the NCP, Congress demand of including ‘secular’ in the Preamble in its quest to plant Uddhav Thackeray as the CM in Maharashtra. However, the recent announcement by the Maharashtra government of bankrolling the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya evinces that Thackeray is in no mood to cede his Hindutva battleground to the BJP and a reinvigorated MNS who is jockeying for regaining its relevance in Maharashtra politics.