The two hope Congress, NCP too would join them: meanwhile, governor Koshyari wishes to step down
Geetanjali Minhas | January 23, 2023 | Mumbai
Ahead of the Mumbai civic polls, former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday announced an alliance with Prakash Ambedkar's Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA).
Addressing a joint press conference, Thackeray said their grandfathers, Keshav Thackeray and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, were contemporaries who admired each other and worked to eradicate social evils and bad practices. Thackeray had been in talks with Ambedkar for over two months.
“Today is 23rd January, the birth anniversary of Balasaheb Thackeray. I am satisfied and happy that several people of Maharashtra wanted us to come together. Prakash Ambedkar and I are here today to form an alliance. Thackeray and Ambedkar have a history. Now their future generations are here to fight on the current issues of the country," he said.
Referring to the breakaway faction of the Shiv Sena led by CM Eknath Shinde as “traitors”, Thackeray said, "There has been no announcement of elections till now. I want to challenge the traitors to conduct elections if they (CM Shinde faction and BJP) have guts, then they should declare elections.”
Referring to Shinde's 'betrayal' to his government, he said, "Mohan Bhagwat (RSS chief) went to the masjid, did he leave Hindutva? When the BJP formed an alliance with the PDP did they leave Hindutva? Whatever they do is right and when we do something we leave Hindutva, that's not right!"
Elections to various civic bodies in Maharashtra including the cash-rich BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) are expected to be held in soon. The Mumbai civic polls will be the first major election since the split of Shiv Sena last year, after a successful rebellion led by Shinde who allied with BJP. It led to the fall of MVA government. The Shiv Sena has ruled the BMC for nearly 30 years.
Thackeray said the country was heading towards autocracy. "Now there are some bad practices in politics and to eradicate them the inheritors of these two leaders and people around them have come together to protect the country's interest. We are coming together to ensure democracy is alive."
Calling the alliance the “start of politics of change”, Ambedkar said, “We have been organising protests on social issues. Whether we win on social issues or not is in the hands of voters, but giving such people a seat to contest is in the hands of the political parties.
"As of now, it's only the two of us. Congress hasn't accepted the alliance yet. I hope Sharad Pawar will also join the alliance," Ambedkar added, and voiced the hope that the other members of the MVA (Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party) would also join. Thackeray also noted that the two partners had not voiced dissent about the possible inclusion.
Governor wishes to step down
In another development, Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has said that he wants to step down and spend the rest of his life in reading, writing and other leisurely activities.
In a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan, the governor said he wanted to spend the rest of his life in reading, writing and other leisurely activities. “It was an absolute honour and privilege for me to serve as the Rajya Sevak or Rajyapal of a great state like Maharashtra, the land of saints, social reformers and valiant fighters,” said Koshyari in the statement.
The governor said that he has communicated his desire to prime minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Mumbai.
“I can never forget the love and affection I have received from the people of Maharashtra during the last little more than 3 years. During the recent visit of the Hon'ble Prime Minister to Mumbai I have conveyed to him my desire to be discharged of all political responsibilities and to spend the remainder of my life in reading, writing and other activities. I have always received the love and affection from the Hon’ble Prime Minister and I hope to receive the same in this regard,” Koshyari said in his statement.
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