Uddhav does volte-face on Modi

Shiv Sena leader denies accusing Gujarat CM of parochialism

In a dramatic volte-face, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who had charged Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi with being “parochial” in the party mouthpiece “Saamna,” tried to soothe frayed nerves by stating that he was criticising “propagandists of Modi.”

In a hurriedly called press meet here, Thackeray said: “I have not attacked Narendra Modi. He has been given a new role on the national stage and we have some expectations from him. But then, it would be wrong to construe that our criticism this morning (Tuesday) was meant for Modi. His (Narendra Modi) propagandists have limited his actions in the Uttarakhand rescue operations to Gujaratis. We feel this is wrong. After all, when a person is being propped up for a national role, his vision should also be national, not local.”

The editorial, while making scathing remarks on Modi, who had claimed to have rescued 15,000 Gujaratis in a single day, showered praises on Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for directing rescue operations “quietly and without confining it to one particular region or community.”

“After all, leaders can only direct or encourage rescue works. The real heroes are soldiers from the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. The soldiers have only one thing in mind. Save the people irrespective of region, caste or creed. And all of them are doing it quietly, without beating the drums,” the editorial remarked.

Ever since the BJP-led  NDA became engulfed in inter-party feuds, the Shiv Sena, one of the oldest partners in the alliance, has been coming down heavily on the BJP. On Monday, the Shiv Sena expressed its views over the rifts in the NDA. In an editorial, the party urged the BJP to declare possible allies so that the coalition gains strength.

“It is alright to say that get new friends...but the question is from where do you get new friends? New friends are not seasonal crops where you sow seeds and reap a harvest. Friends do not grow like trees, they have to be nurtured. How can you get new friends by striking the very tree which provided shelter, fruits, flowers and fragrance?”

Commenting on the JD-U’s decision to part ways with the NDA, the editorial stated: “What you had, has been lost. After Nitish Kumar left, who remains in the NDA? The BJP and the Shiv Sena. Punjab is a state with just 13 MPs and the Akali Dal has a negligible share of four or five MPs.

“Once upon a time, the NDA had 25-30 parties. Now, only three remain. Once the hall in Advani’s house barely had space to accommodate all NDA representatives. Now, one table and four chairs are enough.”

The editorial further stated: “Modi had been made the BJP’s 2014 campaign in-charge, but can the BJP defeat the Congress on its own? If not, the BJP  should declare its allies. The Shiv Sena will remain with the BJP on the HIndutva agenda, but who else in other states? Will Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, Naveen Patnaik in Odisha, B S Yedurappa in Karnataka  and the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu work with the NDA? If the past glory of the NDA has to be regained, then the BJP needs to respect its existing friends.”

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