We will not abide by ECI notice: Uddhav Thackeray

MUMBAI: Chief of the Shiv Sena (UBT) party Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday that his party had received a notice from the Election Commission of India (ECI) asking it to remove the words “Jai Bhavani” and “Hindu” from its new anthem.
He said his party would not abide by the ECI’s notice and that the body should first take action against Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah who had “openly used religion for campaigning.” Thackeray said, “If they try to take action against us, they should first take action against them.What is happening is unfair.”
Thackeray said they had not asked for votes in the name of religion in their anthem. “We have used the slogan Jai Bhavani Jai Shivaji and we have said your religion is Hindu”. We are not asking for votes in the name of religion.”
“Tuljabhavani is the family deity of Maharashtra and the deity of Chhatrapati Shivaji. We will not tolerate an insult towards her name. It is an insult towards Marathi pride,” he said. “Tomorrow, they will ask us to not say Jai Shivaji.”
Accusing the ECI of double standards, Thackeray claimed that both Modi and Shah had invoked religion for votes. “In the recent Karnataka elections, Prime Minister Modi said, when you go to vote, say Jai Bajrangbali and press the button. Home Minister Amit Shah also said that if there is a BJP government, there will be a free darshan of the Ram temple,” said Thackeray.
He said he had written to the ECI about these statements since his father, Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray had been debarred from voting or standing for elections for six years on charges of using religion for campaigning.
“I wrote to the ECI about the statements made by Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah to ask if the law on this issue had changed from my father’s time. I received no response. I sent a reminder but all we got was this love letter from the ECI,” he said.
Thackeray also said they had been informed that the bags of their campaigners would be checked. “They told us that while campaigning, bags of our leaders will be checked. In that case, the bags of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah should also be checked. Open their bags and then open our bags,” said Thackeray.

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