Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday said the annual Dussehra rally held at the Shivaji Park in Mumbai has been a tradition and is a legacy of more than five decades, and claimed it is only a Thackeray who gives the vision and road map for Maharashtra and the country from the venue.
Talking to reporters, Mr. Raut further claimed that Sena (UBT) head Uddhav Thackeray’s speech at the Dussehra rally will be the “beginning of a change” in the state and at the national level in 2024.
The Rajya Sabha termed the Dussehra rally to be organised by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as “duplicate”, claiming it is acceptable only to “duplicate people in the BJP”.
Sena (UBT) head and former CM Thackeray will address the Dussehra rally at the iconic Shivaji Park in Dadar area here on Tuesday, while the CM Shinde-led Shiv Sena has finalised the Azad Maidan in south Mumbai for holding its rally.
The Lok Sabha elections and the Maharashtra assembly polls are due next year.
“Uddhav Thackeray’s speech at the Dussehra rally will be the beginning of a change in the state and at the national level in 2024. Thackeray’s Dussehra rally has been a tradition and is a legacy of over five decades. First it was (Sena founder) Balasaheb and later Uddhavji,” Mr. Raut said.
BJP leaders are keen to know what stand Uddhav Thackeray takes in his speech, he claimed.
The Rajya Sabha member also said drug case accused Lalit Patil was never a Shiv Sena office-bearer.
Notably, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said Patil was the Nashik chief of the undivided Shiv Sena under Thackeray and was never interrogated by police after he was held in 2020, when the Maha Vikas Aghadi was in power.
Mr. Raut said it shows Fadnavis has no control over the home department. He is a “failed home minister”, the Sena (UBT) leader claimed.
The drug mafia in Nashik has blessings of the state government, Mr. Raut alleged.
“If minister Dada Bhuse says Uddhav Thackeray tied ‘Shiv Bandhan’ to Lalit Patil, I want to ask who brought him (Patil) to Uddhavji saying he is my worker. Fadnavis should strengthen his intelligence (network). You took all known criminals who were on the radar of the ED,” Mr. Raut charged.
The Sakinaka police in Mumbai on October 6 said they seized 151 kg of mephedrone worth ₹300 crore and arrested several persons from different cities during an operation that lasted two months. A drug manufacturing unit located in Nashik district was also busted during the probe.
According to the police, Lalit Patil is a key player in the racket.
Mr. Patil, who escaped from Pune’s Sassoon General Hospital on October 2, was arrested near Bengaluru on October 17.