MUMBAI: After announcing that the Shiv Sena will fight the 2019 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly elections alone, party chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Questioning PM Modi, the Sena chief asked why was Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu taken to Ahmedabad and not to Srinagar during the latter's recent visit to India.
"PM Modi took Israeli PM to Ahmedabad, why not to Lal Chowk in Srinagar? Why couldn't he have done a roadshow in Srinagar? Had he hoisted tricolour in Lal chowk, we would have felt sense of pride towards our PM," Uddhav Thackeray said.
He also added that PM calls himself 'Pant Pradhan', "but all he does is travel abroad."
In a hard-hitting speech, Thackeray announced that the Shiv Sena will fight the elections alone irrespective of the results that it gets.
"We shall contest elections in every state and that too on the Hindutva plank. It is immaterial whether we win or are vanquished but our Hindutva will never be abandoned," Thackeray said targeting the BJP and PM Modi.
He added that over the years the party had consciously refrained from fighting in other states - barring a few attempts in some states like Gujarat and Goa - to prevent a split in the Hindutva votes.
Motivating his party members, he said: "Be prepared for the next elections. It may be announced simultaneously in December 2018 or may be held separately."
This is the second time in four years that the Shiv Sena has decided to go it alone in Maharashtra.
In the October 2014 assembly elections, the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance had broken down and both parties fought the elections independently. However, barely six months before April 2014, both parties had contested the Lok Sabha polls as allies with spectacular results.
Later, the BJP emerged as the single largest party while the Shiv Sena sat as the main opposition party for a month and then joined the ruling BJP.
During the February 2017 BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation polls, the Shiv Sena contested separately and emerged as the single largest party to capture the country`s biggest and richest civic body, pushing back its NDA ally to the second slot.
At that time, many leaders campaigned on the need to contest all future elections separately, which after nearly 11 months got a formal stamp of approval at the National Executive.