Shiv Sena MP and spokesperson Arvind Sawant, who supports the Thackeray-led Sena, tod PTI that the ‘first-come-first-serve’ principle was applied while giving permission to the Shinde group to hold a rally at the MMRDA ground in BKC, which is a stone’s throw away from ‘Matoshree’, the private residence of former CM Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai.
The rival Sena factions had staked claim to hold their rallies at the iconic Shivaji Park, which is synonymous with the Shiv Sena. Both sides had also alternately applied for permission at the BKC for the rally on Dussehra next month.
The Shinde faction had received nod to hold its rally at the BKC. But, no decision has been taken for the Shivaji Park ground by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“Now it will be easier for us (to get nod for Shivaji Park). They (Shinde group) got permission on the first-come-first-serve basis. So, the same principle applies to us as well for the Shivaji Park,” Sawant told PTI.
The Dussehra rally at the Shivaji Park is an annual gathering of the Shiv Sena since its inception. It is here that the Shiv Sena chiefs – earlier Bal Thackeray and then his son Uddhav Thackeray – mostly spelt their agenda and targeted rivals.
This year’s rally assumes significance as both Uddhav Thackeray and CM Shinde claim their respective factions to be the original Shiv Sena.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar backed the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction and said his group is the real Shiv Sena to hold the annual congregation at the Shivaji Park.
“I have been seeing this for 30-40 years. When one says Shivaji Park, then it is the Shiv Sena, the one led by Balasaheb Thackeray. And that Shiv Sena is Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena. So, their demand for the Dussehra rally is not wrong,” Pawar told reporters.
“(CM) Shinde also has the right to hold Dussehra rally. They (the Shinde faction) had sought the BKC ground and got it. Once their problem is resolved, then there is no issue of opposing others. I am not saying they have not done it, but it is important to grant permission,” he said.
The NCP and the Shiv Sena were alliance partners in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray.