‘Sena parted ways with BJP and not Hindutva’: Uddhav Thackeray in Ayodhya

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said his Shiv Sena separated from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but not from Hindutva while visiting the temple town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

“The BJP does not mean Hindutva. Hindutva is different and the BJP is different,” Uddhav Thackeray said, according to news agency ANI.

The Shiv Sena chief also announced he will give Rs 1 crore towards the temple to Lord Ram in Ayodhya from his trust.

Saturday’s visit to Ayodhya was Thackeray’s first after becoming the chief minister of Maharashtra in December last year.

Also read: Inside the Shiv Sena-BJP split: Cracks appeared before Lok Sabha polls

The Shiv Sena had cut off its relationship with the BJP and formed a government in alliance with the ideologically different Nationalist Congress Party and Congress.

“I am here to seek the blessings of Ram Lalla. I have with me today several members of my ‘Bhagwa’ family. It is my third visit in the last one-and-a-half years. I will also offer prayers today,” he said.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had refuted claims that Thackeray’s visit was an attempt by the Sena to keep its Hindutva agenda alive amid allegations of diluting its stand on the issue after joining hands with the NCP and Congress.

“We do not need to do these gimmicks for Hindutva,” Raut had said.

Also read: Uddhav Thackeray completes 100 days as CM, will visit Ayodhya

The leader also hinted that the Sena could play an “active” part in the construction of the Ram temple. “The CM will speak about how we want to support the construction of Ram temple,” he said.

Uddhav Thackeray’s Ayodhya visit was announced in January to mark 100 days in office of the new Maharashtra government led by the Shiv Sena. The Sena chief was sworn-in as chief minister on November 28, 2019.

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