Extreme bitterness between Maharashtra chief minister Eaknath Shinde and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is all set to be fuelled further as later has decided to stay away from a function in Maharashtra Assembly when the portrait of Bal Thackeray will be unveiled.
Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, who challenged Uddhav Thackeray for comprising Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva by joining hands with Congress and NCP, has taken personal interest in commissioning Bal Thackeray’s portrait in Maharashtra Assembly. It will be unveiled on Monday (January 23) on the occasion of Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary.
The office of Maharashtra Assembly has sent an official invitation to Uddhav. In fact, officials of the Assembly had gone to Matoshree, residence of Thackeray family but returned without having met Uddhav. All the family members of Bal Thackeray, including Raj Thackeray, have been invited for the function. Excepting, Uddhav and his family, all Thackerays will be present on the occasion. Shinde and Uddhav have not shared dais after they separated from each other.
Uddhav supporters have some resentment about the function with the fear that the function would establish Eknath Shinde as the true ideological successor of Bal Thackeray. They fear that Shinde group will get a weapon to criticise Uddhav as he did not take initiative to commission his father’s portrait when he was chief minister. Uddhav camp raised some minor objections about the portrait but they were neglected. Alibag based artiste Chandrakala Kadam, who had done oil canvas, made a personal request to Uddhav to attend the function but in vain.
Sena leaders demanded that the name of Uddhav Thackeray was needed to be included in the invitation card. Officials, however, maintain that it would have been in violation of protocol as the function was not organized by any political party but by the office of Assembly speaker.
Shiv Sena has announced two separate functions, which will clash with a ceremony in Maharashtra Assembly. Uddhav will visit the statue of Bal Thackeray near GateWay of India and will later address Sens office bearers in Mumbai in the evening. As a result, none of Uddhav camp members and his family members would attend the function in which Bal Thackeray’s portrait will be unveiled.
Sanjay Raut described the function as political but refrained from criticising it. Raut said, “The function has been organized by those, who call themselves as Modi men. It is out of political selfishness”. But Aditya Thackeray bitterly criticised the function saying that Bal Thackeray’s portrait will be unveiled by ‘gaddar’, who was heading an unconstitutional government. “My grandfather must be feeling ashamed of these ‘gaddars”, he said.
Earlier, Chandrakala Kadam had done a portrait of Veer Savarkar, which was commissioned in Parliament. She completed Bal Thackeray’s portrait in 20 days.
Meanwhile, all eyes are also set on the future of Uddhav Thackeray’s position as party chief as his tenure will come to an end on the same day. Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) has requested the Election Commission of India to grant permission to conduct internal elections but the commission has not given any decision. Uncertainty prevails whether Uddhav can continue to occupy the party position after his tenure comes to an end.