Bhujbal himself to be blamed for his political isolation: Thackeray

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Mumbai, Oct 17 (UNI) Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray has said his former protege and Maharashtra PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal can only blame himself for finding himself politically isolated.

In an editorial published in today's issue of his party mouthpiece 'Saamna', Mr Thackeray, who is the editor of the paper, rejected Bhujbal's contention that he had quit the Sena in the early 90s due to differences over implementation of the Mandal Commission Report.

He said that Bhujbal's isolation and plight in the NCP only goes to prove that political journey of those who ditch Shiv Sena is never a happy one.

''Bhujbal was used by the Congress and NCP after quitting Shiv Sena only to be dumped in wilderness now,'' Mr Thackeray added.

''While in the Congress and NCP, Bhujbal could do no harm to the Shiv Sena and in fact, Shiv Sena defeated him in his own bastion-Mazgaon in the 1995 assembly elections. The Sharad Pawar government was also defeated at that time,'' he said.

''Shiv Sena has never taken caste factors into consideration.

Those who play OBC politics for their own interests should cast a glance at Shiv Sena's elected representatives, officebearers and leaders then they will know that ours is the only party in the country that works for strengthening of the bahujan samaj without resorting to political gimmicks. It was only because of Shiv Sena, that Byculla market's Chhagan could make it successfully in public life,'' Mr Thackeray said.

The Sena supremo said that when Bhujbal was in the Shiv Sena, he was looked upon as a Shiv Sena 'Neta' (leader) and leader of Maharashtra. ''But, now he is seen as an OBC leader belonging to the Mali community. Did Bhujbal quit Shiv Sena for this?'' Mr Thackeray asked.

Pointing out to Bhujbal's remark on Sunday that Shiv Sena had given him a dignified standing in the society, Mr Thackeray said, ''Bhujbal had spoken the truth as he is now growing old.'' ''If Bhujbal was in the Shiv Sena, perhaps he would have been the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Narayan Rane would have never come to the fore. Shiv Sena would have celebrated Bhujbal's 60th birthday in a grand style. Last Sunday, not one senior NCP leader attended the function,'' Mr Thackeray noted.

Sharad Pawar has virtually ended any possibility of giving Bhujbal a prominent post in the state by making him the party in charge of Bihar, he added.

Speaking about the allegations against Bhujbal in the Telgi fake stamp paper case and Bhujbal's veiled reference to Sharad Pawar that those who should have had faith in him did not do so, Mr Thackeray said a picture was created by the NCP that Bhujbal was a prime suspect in the scam.

The Sena supremo concluded that given his old fond association with Bhujbal, he could only ask, ''Chhagan, why did this happen to you.'' Mr Thackeray also said that he had given up calling Bhujbal 'Lakhoba' (a popular character from a Marathi play) as he had 'improved his behaviour'.

''Bhujbal continues to be the same Shiv Sainik, I had created. I know that the Shiv Sainik in him is not allowing him to sit quietly despite being neglected by his party. He might be even shedding tears privately. But, those who leave Shiv Sena meet the same fate,'' Mr Thackeray added indicating that he had still not forgiven Bhujbal for deserting the party.

UNI

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