Shiv Sena questions credibility of Central government and warns of States breaking away similar to erstwhile USSR

Published : January 01, 2021 14:44 IST

Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief. Photo: Emmanual Yogini

Relations between the Centre and Maharashtra have been on a slow decline for a while. But, on December 27, Saamna, the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece, carried a more-than-usual vitriolic attack on the Centre in its editorial, saying that the way the Central government was running the country could result in States breaking away, as it happened in the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The editorial said: “If the Central government does not realise that they are harming people for political gains, it will not take much time for States in our country to break away like the Soviet Union. The year 2020 has to be looked at, creating a question mark on the capacity and credibility of the central government.”

The editorial expressed disapproval at the manipulations of the Centre in the politics of the States. It said that Kailash Vijayvargiya, national general secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had disclosed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a determined attempt to destabilise the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Commenting on this, Saamna said: “What if our Prime Minister is taking a special interest in destabilising State governments? The Prime Minister belongs to the country. The country stands as a federation. Even the States which do not have BJP governments, those States also talk about national interest. This feeling is being killed.”

The editorial pointed a finger at the Centre, saying the same tactics were being used to try and overthrow the Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. “Political defeats in a democracy are very common,” the editorial censoriously said, “but the way Central government is being used to oust Mamata Banerjee is painful.”

With its typical brand of anger and sarcasm, the editorial pointed out the hypocrisies of the Centre. “Large-scale rallies and roadshows are going on and the country’s Home Minister is leading it. At the same time, night curfew is required in States like Maharashtra to avoid congestion in the context of coronavirus. The rulers break the rules and the public has to pay.” Another example of such hypocrisy, it said, was the manner in which the Modi government had overextended itself to help Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami and the actress Kangana Ranaut recently.

Mocking the fake nationalism of the BJP, the Saamna editorial said that the Centre was unable to force out Chinese troops that had entered India. “Chinese troops entered India’s border in 2020. They occupied our land. We could not push the Chinese troops back, but a new whip of nationalism was used to divert attention from the crisis. The boycott of Chinese goods and Chinese investment was promoted.”

Scorning the economic relief package of the Central government in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Saamna said: “The whole world was in trouble but the U.S. gave a good package to its citizens struggling with the economic crisis. This package is such that every US citizen will have 65,000 rupees per month in their bank account. Same happened in Brazil and Europe, but Indian citizens were left empty-handed even after the year ended.”

Regarding the money being spent on the new Parliament building, the editorial said: “Instead of constructing a new Parliament House building worth Rs.1,000 crore, the money should be spent on the health system, as prominent people of the country told Prime Minister Modi.”