Mumbai, Nov 29 :
Virtually prostrating before the party leadership, former chief minister and Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi Friday tendered a public apology to Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray for questioning the latter’s leadership credentials.
In a signed statement, Joshi, 76, said that if his comments had lowered the dignity of or insulted the party chief, then “I hereby tender a public apology”.
Joshi’s statement came barely hours after a stern Thackeray, 53, warned that those party leaders who are dissatisfied with his leadership were free to quit the party.
Thackeray’s tough stance came after Joshi, in an outburst last month, accused the party leadership of being weak in the matter of constructing a memorial to the late party supremo Bal Thackeray.
In the statement, Joshi said that faith in the party leadership and discipline were the hallmark of the Shiv Sena, and he had adhered to these principles for 45 years.
“Like millions of Shiv Sainiks, I have full faith in the leadership of party supremo (the late) Bal Thackeray and (current) chief Uddhav Thackeray,” Joshi declared.
He admitted that his views of Oct 11 pertaining to the proposed memorial for Bal Thackeray had created a controversy and resulted in misunderstanding between him and the Shiv Sena.
Despite clarifying his views and remarks several times, the controversy continued. He followed up the clarifications with a meeting with Uddhav Thackeray at his residence Oct 29.
“All top party leaders were present at that meeting and there was a lot of discussion on my comments. I made it clear that Uddhav Thackeray was a strong leader and I have no doubt that the party would capture power in the state under his leadership,” Joshi said.
Tendering the apology Friday, Joshi expressed the hope that at least now the curtain would come down on the controversy.
Even as the party was coming to terms with the Joshi imbroglio, there was a highly publicised meeting of another senior party leader and five-time Lok Sabha member, Mohan Rawale, with rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leaders recently.
There have been murmurs of discontent among certain other senior Shiv Sena leaders but these are now expected to subside after the public apology from Joshi. (IANS)