High drama unfolded in Thane’s Mumbra on Saturday evening with hundreds of workers from both Shiv Sena factions, led by Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, coming face to face when the Sena (UBT) chief was heading to the site of a party ‘shakha’, which was demolished by Shinde Sena workers on November 2.
Thackeray could not visit the ‘shakha’ site after facing resistance from workers of Shinde Sena, who also showed black flags and raised slogans against him. As the situation turned tense, following the police’s request, Thackeray and his party colleagues left, just metres away from the site.
Attacking the Shinde Sena for “bulldozing” the ‘shakha’ (local branch office) controlled by the Sena (UBT) and using the police machinery during his visit, Thackeray said, in a press conference, that “those who are high on power” will be taught a lesson during the elections. He claimed the police had become helpless due to pressure from the Shinde Sena.
He termed the Shinde Sena as “thieves” and said the police shouldn’t become the slave of “thieves”. “Those who are high on power and bulldozed our ‘shakha’ will be taught a lesson during the elections. I have come here to show you the ‘bulldozer’. Our posters were torn. We will tear their arrogance into pieces in the polls,” Thackeray said, as he dared Shinde to keep the police away and face the Sena (UBT) on the ground.
“We came here to show the ‘thieves’ (Shinde Sena) their place. But the police protected the ‘thieves’. But remember these ‘thieves’ have disturbed the honeycomb. Now the honeybees will sting you. I appeal to Thanekars to confiscate the deposits of these ‘thieves’ during the upcoming elections,” Thackeray said.
Stating that the ‘shakha’ razed by Shinde Sena workers was owned by the Sena (UBT), he ordered sainiks and party office-bearers to sit at the ‘shakha’ site and remove the structure installed by the Shinde Sena. “We have all the documents of the ‘shakha’. Sena workers should assemble at the ‘shakha’ everyday, let’s see who does what,” he said.
Even as Thackeray along with senior party leaders reached the place, where both factions of Sena workers had gathered, the police stopped the convoy of Thackeray from going to the ‘shakha’ spot and requested him to not visit the site to avoid any untoward situation. Thackeray agreed to go back.
There was heavy police bandobast with barricades to stop the ‘sainiks’.
Both factions of Sena workers raised slogans against each other. While Thackeray-led Sena workers raised slogans in support of him, Shinde Sena workers raised slogans to oppose his visit.
Thackeray had announced he would visit the Mumbra ‘shakha’ on Saturday to show solidarity with local Sena (UBT) workers. NCP’s Jitendra Awhad along with Congress workers also gathered in support of Thackeray.
Meanwhile, Shinde Sena leader and former Thane Mayor Naresh Mhaske said on Saturday his party would take over all ‘shakhas’ of the undivided party that were being used for “inappropriate activities”. Mhaske claimed Thackeray was visiting Mumbra on the advice of Awhad, adding that posters welcoming the former chief minister did not have images of Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray and late Anand Dighe, the undivided party’s Thane strongman.
Taking swipes at Uddhav, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said, “Some people(Uddhav and Sena UBT) had come to Mumbra today with fireworks. But their fireworks did not burst. Our Mhaske and other Sainiks however bursted so much of fireworks that those people(Uddhav and his party colleagues) had to take U-turn and go back.”