Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday accused the Shiv Sena of sacrificing its founder Bal Thackeray’s principles for power, reported The Hindu.

“Uddhav Thackeray and the Shiv Sena have jettisoned all of Balasaheb’s principles by forming an unnatural alliance with the Congress and the NCP [Nationalist Congress Party] in Maharashtra,” Shah said at the inauguration of a private medical college in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district.

The home minister also mocked the Maha Vikas Aghadi government – comprising the Congress, the Shiv Sena and the NCP – comparing the coalition to a “three-wheeled autorickshaw”. Shah said that the three wheels of this autorickshaw were trundling aimlessly in three different directions.

“This [Maha Vikas Aghadi government] is an unholy alliance made by betraying the people’s mandate which was for a Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government led by Devendra Fadnavis,” he said, according to PTI.

The home minister alleged that the alliance was formed due to “lust for power”. He claimed that no promise was made before the 2019 state Assembly polls about sharing the chief minister’s post by the BJP and the Shiv Sena. The two parties had broken their alliance following the dispute for sharing of the chief minister’s post. After this, the Shiv Sena had staked claim to form the government with the help of the Congress and the NCP.

“For the lust of power, all Balasaheb’s ideals were dumped in the Tapi river,” he said. Shah said Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray addressed rallies with him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2019.

“We sought votes for the BJP-Sena led by Fadnavis, why didn’t you speak out that time,” he asked Thackeray. “You just took votes in the name of Modi ji.”

The home minister also accused the Shiv Sena of betraying the electoral mandate of the people of Maharashtra by forging an opportunistic alliance with the ideologically opposed NCP. “The BJP could have swept the 2019 polls had it contested on its own strength and employed the Sena’s stab-in-the-back tactics…the Sena would then have been finished in the state,” he added.

In support of his claim that the BJP has not broken pre-electoral promises, Shah pointed out that in Bihar, his party got more seats than the Janata Dal (United) but kept its promise. “Though Nitish Kumar admitted that the BJP could stake claim to the Chief Ministership owing to our larger numbers, we kept our word and anointed him as CM as promised,” he said. “It is regrettable that the Sena’s lust for power has led it to betray us.”

On Shiv Sena’s claims that the BJP broke its seat-sharing promise, Shah said that he does not make promises behind closed doors. “I would like to emphatically say I have never indulged in ‘closed-door’ politics,” he said. “I believe in transparency and making all promises on a public forum.”

The home minister also said that the Ram temple will be constructed in Ayodhya in two years. “BJP is in politics for its ideals, and not for politics like the Shiv Sena,” he said.

Shah also lauded BJP Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane for his efforts in the construction of the medical college, which he was inaugurating.

“I see him as someone who speaks out against injustice without thinking of the consequences,” the home minister said. “Perhaps, it is because of this that his political career has been so full of twists and turns. However, he won’t face injustice in the BJP. We know how to take care and give respect to Rane.”

The Union minister also praised Modi for effectively tackling the coronavirus pandemic. “The Modi government has fought the battle in a unique way,” he said. “We implemented the lockdown on time. While we did not have the requisite infrastructure when the pandemic erupted, we shored it up in a record six months.”

He also said that four more coronavirus vaccines were on their way besides Covishield and Covaxin. “Our vaccination programme is progressing apace and we have inoculated 55 lakh persons in three weeks,” Shah said. “We are exporting vaccines to 14 countries as of now.”