Aurangabad: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday coined a new definition of Hindutva saying “Hindutva means strengthening bonds between people and not creating rifts in the society on the basis of caste and religions”.
While Thackeray did not elaborate much on his liberal definition of Hindutva, his statement is in stark contrast with the predictions of most political observers that before the 2017 Mumbai Municipal polls, the Sena will adopt a more aggressive stand to win back the hardcore Hindutva voters it has lost to BJP.
“Extending a helping hand to the needy, irrespective of their social and religious background, is the real objective of Shiv Sena,” Thackeray said, while extending best wishes to the newly-wed couples at a mass marriage ceremony organised by his party for the drought-affected persons from different parts of Marathwada.
He added that the situation in Marathwada was quite grim, where farmers have lost crop due to deficit rainfall. “There are many affected farmers, who cannot afford to spend money on the weddings of their children. I would like to assure that our party wil stand behind them. This is what Sena supremo Balasaheb taught us and we are going to follow it,” he said.
Uddhav Thackeray said when Shiv Sainiks help people, they do not take into account their caste or religion. “This ceremony, where couples of different religions participated in the mass wedding ceremony, is a testimony to the party’s impartial stand. We have taken responsibility of Muslim and Buddhist couples along with Hindu couples,” he said.
As many as 244 couples tied the knot in the ceremony organised by the Shiv Sena. Interestingly, there were 184 Hindu, 42 Buddhist and eight Muslim couples.
“During elections, political parties often take a tough stand on religious grounds and divide people. They widen the gap in society but we bring people together as the party believes in the philosophy of brotherhood. We work to bring people close to each other,” he said.
Earlier, speaking at the event, Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao said this mass wedding ceremony would bring relief to many affected families.