MUMBAI: A day after the Election Commission recognized the rival faction led by Eknath Shinde as the real Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday asked his supporters to teach a lesson to the ''thief'' who stole the party's `bow and arrow' symbol.
Addressing party workers outside the Thackeray residence `Matoshree' in suburban Bandra from a car with sunroof, he said they should start preparing for elections.
The EC decision, which deprived Uddhav of the control of the party founded by his father late Bal Thackeray in 1966, came at a time when elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation are long due.
Thackeray said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should know that they will never be able to finish off the Shiv Sena despite using the state machinery which has become their slave.
''Are you scared? I have nothing to give you now,'' he asked the gathering.
His supporters shouted back that they were not, and asked him to give directions for the next move.
''We should not rest till we teach the thief a lesson in elections. Start preparing for elections immediately,'' said Thackeray who had to resign as Maharashtra Chief Minister last June after Eknath Shinde and a majority of Sena MLAs rebelled against his leadership.
Maha Shivratri fell on Saturday and Shiv Jayanti or birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was on Sunday, and this time was chosen ''to rob the Shiv Sena's name and symbol'', Thackeray said.
''The thief has hurled a stone at a beehive. But he has not experienced the sting of honeybees,'' Thackeray said.
Chief Minister Shinde would not be able to carry off the ''stolen bow and arrow'' and will collapse like the mythological demon king Ravana who could not lift the Shiv Dhanush, he said.
Never before the EC had awarded the symbol and party name to one faction in such disputes and the symbol was always put under a freeze in such situations, Thackeray said. ''But the PM's slaves have done it now,'' he alleged.
The present election commissioner may become the governor of a state after retirement, Thackeray claimed.
''People will decide whom the Shiv Sena belongs,'' he said.
Thackeray further said prime minister Modi needed to ''wear Balasaheb Thackeray's mask'' to come to Maharashtra.
''The thief wants the Thackeray name, Balasaheb's photo but not the Shiv Sena family,'' he said, in an apparent reference to Shinde.
People understand the difference between those who wear masks and the real people, he said.
Later, Thackeray chaired a meeting of party leaders loyal to him.
He asked them to tour every district and galvanise the cadre, MLC Sachin Ahir told reporters.
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