Won’t abide by ECI notice to remove ‘Hindu’, ‘Jai Bhavani’ from party anthem: Uddhav

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said he has received a notice from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to remove the words “Jai Bhavani” and “Hindu” from his party’s new anthem, but he won’t abide by it.
Addressing a press conference here, Thackeray said asking for the removal of “Jai Bhavani” from the anthem was an insult to Maharashtra.
Thackeray said his party has come up with an anthem to popularise its new poll symbol, “mashal” (flaming torch), and the ECI has asked for the removal of the words “Hindu” and “Jai Bhavani” from it.
“Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj founded Hindavi Swaraj with the blessings of goddess Tulja Bhavani. We are not asking for votes in the name of the goddess or Hindu religion. This is an insult and will not be tolerated,” Thackeray said.
The Sena UBT chief said he will continue the practice of saying “Jai Bhavani” and “Jai Shivaji” in his public meetings.
“If the poll body takes action against us, they will have to tell us what they did when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who while campaigning for the Karnataka assembly elections, had asked people to say Jai Bajrang Bali and press the button on EVMs. Amit Shah had told people to vote for the BJP to get Ram Lalla darshan for free in Ayodhya,” he said.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) has asked the ECI whether the laws had been changed and if it was okay now to ask for votes in the name of religion, he said.
“The poll body has not responded to our letter and the reminder we sent. In the reminder, we had said if the laws have been changed, we will also say ‘Har Har Mahadev’ in our election rallies.” The former chief minister said his father, Balasaheb Thackeray, was barred from voting and contesting elections for six years because he campaigned for Hindutva when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister.
The party had also asked the ECI to clarify whether speeches made by PM Modi and Amit Shah during the recent assembly elections invoking religion were “corrupt practice” (under the Representation of People Act), he claimed.

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