Sanjay Ji, Central Government is completing 2 years now, Shiv Sena is an important part of this Government. According to you what are the achievements of the Government?
The first thing is that Shiv Sena is not an important part of this Central Government. I always try to tell the truth, there was a time when in the NDA, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal etc. old partners of BJP, would play an important role in the NDA. This current government may be called an NDA government, but it is actually a BJP government. They have full majority and when that is the case, even partners like us who have worked with them for more than 25 years, are not given the same importance by the BJP. This time the portfolio that Shiv Sena has is not as important; the same for Akali Dal and the government at the centre can run without us. If you talk about the journey, it's just been 2 years and the journey has just begun. People travel for 50 years and don't reach their destination, Modi ji has only begun the journey 2 years back, he should be given more time, when the government completes 4 years, that's when we can probably say what the government has done and what it hasn't. If you ask Modi ji or the government right now, they will also say the same thing, that it's only been 2 years. The previous government has created such a mess in 50 years that would be everyone's answer. The people of the country elect any government for 5 years and it is the responsibility of the government to do something for the country and the people.
Recently, Uddhav ji said, Shiv Sena and BJP alliance is only for the sake of Hindutva and not for any power struggle, do you think Shiv Sena will push BJP for construction of Ram temple?
Uddhav ji's statement that we are not with the BJP for power but for Hindutva is correct, our alliance 25 years back was with the ideology of working for Hindutva, to work for the integrity of the nation, the divisive forces were rising and it was only the power Hindutva that could keep the nation from getting divided. Bala Saheb Thackeray ji, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, Advani ji, the alliance created by them has worked for 25 years with that ideology. Till these senior leaders were there in BJP the alliance worked fine with the ideology of Hindutva, there could be some minor difference of opinion on some matters, but the alliance worked fine overall. When you talk about power, Shiv Sena is the only political party in the country which would leave power but never leave its ideology. We've never changed our agenda, if our agenda is about Hindutva, if we have perspective on Pakistan, if we have a role on Ram Mandir, if we have a perspective on Common Civil Code, we will never change that, because Bala Saheb Thackeray ji's belief was that we are about power. If we change our core ideology after coming to power, we would have to answer the people and that's why Shiv Sena has never changed its ideology.
You talked about Pakistan, Recently, Shiv Sena opposed the cricket match played between Pakistan and India but inspite of that it happened? Do you think somewhere you were being betrayed?
The match didn't happen in Maharashtra, we did not let it happen in Mumbai, and we apply all our force. Nobody could dare to enter Maharashtra; we opposed it and didn't let it happen in Dharamsala. The way Pakistan has created enmity with us, whether you look at Kashmir or other parts of India, the terrorism is backed by Pakistan. They want to break India to pieces, if you keep relationships with such a Pakistan, it would be an insult to our Jawans who fight and die for the country. If you don't keep this into perspective then you are only hungry for power.
Maharashtra is going through severe water crisis, Is there any permanent solution to this problem and do you think Central and State governments support has been enough to fight this crisis?
The water crisis is not just in Maharastha, it's in the whole country. The affidavit filed by the central government in Supreme Court says there is a severe drought in 18 states in the country. There is shortage of food and water and it's not about whose government is in the state, there is a severe drought in Madhya Pradesh, a severe drought in Gujarat, a severe drought in Jharkhand, these are all states ruled by BJP. All these states and their people belong to India and in a matter such as a severe drought everyone has to rise above politics and work towards helping the people reeling under this calamity. Any person with compassion will understand this and work towards solving this crisis. There is a lot of politics going on about people saying 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', I myself said today, that don't link 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' with religion. It's not a matter of religion; it is a matter of belief.
Till 33 Crore people of our country are hungry and thirsty, you can't ask them to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai
You must help them overcome hunger and thirst , before you ask them to say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. No one in the country should be hungry; the language of hunger does not discriminate on the basis of caste or religion.
Recently, Civic polls held in Maharashtra, Congress stood first, NCP and Shiv Sena bagged second and third position whereas BJP crumbled on to fourth position. BJP came to power in Maharashtra assembly with thumping victory; what is your analysis? Do you think BJP has lost the ground in Maharashtra ?
There was a strong wave which came and passed, look at Bihar, in the Lok Sabha election BJP had over 40 seats, but if you look at the Vidhan Sabha elections they faced a heavy defeat. If the Vidhan Sabha elections were to take place now in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena would win with a big mandate, Shiv Sena would get over 160 seats and the next Chief Minister would be from Shiv Sena. I don't want to get into who would be number 2, 3 & 4, they would fight amongst themselves, but the victory would be of Shiv Sena. The environment in Maharashtra was in favour of Shiv Sena even earlier, but there was a big struggle. They broke the alliance and brought every government in the country to Mumbai, they brought the Prime Minister to Mumbai against us, even then Shiv Sena got 64 seats which is because of our great strength. If the election happened today, we would get over 160 seats in Maharashtra.
I think, there is lot of bitterness came in the relationship of Shiv Sena and BJP?
We never added any bitterness to the relationship. If we added bitterness the relationship would not last for 25 years. BJP had no presence in Maharashtra; they grew in the state with our help. It was Bala Saheb Thackeray ji who said that they are people who share our ideology of Hindutva, if we fight amongst ourselves the votes would get divided and it would help Congress, we should fight together, it is then that BJP was able to build a presence in Maharashtra. Politics has its ups and downs.
Who are those people who are creating problem in this 25 years old relationship?
The generation of BJP leaders has changed, people don't recognize Advani ji, Murali Manohar ji, and there are many people who played a pivotal role in the development of the party. It's an internal matter of their party and I will not talk about it, I will talk about our party.
What is the change in politics from Bala Saheb's time to now?
Many things have changed; when Bala Saheb Thackeray did politics, there was a belief in Maharashtra and the country that he is there. People would be scared of doing something wrong knowing that he was there. Like we fear of god, Likewise people had faith in him. There was respect and belief in him, we still work with the belief that he is amongst us
Bala Saheb had lot of affection with his grandson Aditya, aditya was very active during the last assembly election, Do you think Aditya Thackeray will play a bigger role in 2019 lok sabha elections?
Absolutely, he is the leader of the youth, he is an inspiration for young people and he has their backing that is the strength of Shiv Sena. Even at 87, Bala Saheb Thackeray was the leader of the young people and Aditya has that too
First time BJP has formed the government in Maharashtra and has given charge to young "Devendra Fadnavis" as CM. What do you think of his work till now?
Maharashtra is a big state and Mumbai is the financial capital of the country. It's not easy to run Maharashtra and take it forward, many senior leaders have been the Chief Minsiters of the state, Sharad Pawar Ji, Patil ji, Devendra Fadnavis is young leader but has never worked in the ministry before. He has been given the opportunity and in politics if you can use the opportunity to establish your leadership.Under his leadership,corruption has gone down in Maharashtra , his own image is also clean, He wants to work and we will see where he can take the state
What's your take on GST bill?
We have some reservations about the bill, our people were part of the committee and they have shared our objections. When the bill is introduced in the parliament we will put forth our perspective.
There is lot of discussion going on Modi ji's foreign trips in India and on the other hand opposition is slamming him for his trips, Do you think PM Narendra Modi foreign trips has strengthen "Brand India" ?
It is also necessary to tour the country along with touring the world. We spoke about the severe drought in the country. One day you s h o u l d g o t o Marathwada, one day you should go to Bundelkhand, and then you will be able to understand the true state of the country. Today, when we tour the world, our brand is growing, but in the time of crisis it's neither US nor France or Nepal standing with us. Then who is our friend in this world, there are no friends in the world.
Are there any chances of getting more ministerial berths, if cabinet expansion takes place in coming time?
If the cabinet expansion is going to happen, then only the PM knows about it, no one else can talk about it.