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Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray blasts Tendulkar
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 16, 2009
First Published: 15:43 IST(16/11/2009)
Last Updated: 15:45 IST(16/11/2009)

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray is upset with Sachin Tendulkar and has hit out at cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar for making statements that he was an Indian first and a Maharashtrian later. Warning him with a friendly advice that Sachin should stay away from politics and manage his own field, the Sena chief in a signed appeal in his party mouthpiece Saamna has said that Sachin had hurt the sentiments of the Marathi people by making such statements.

Sachin had last week made comments that 'Mumbai belongs to all' and that he was an Indian first and a Maharashtrian later.

"You are free to hit fours and sixers on the cricket field, but keep off the political pitch". You have become a billionaire and made a name for yourself in the world because of your skills. Nobody takes objection to that, but in fact it makes us feel proud. But when you speak politics, you rip apart the hearts of Maharashtrians," Thackeray said.

"With that one statement, you became 'run out' in the pitch of Marathi minds," he pointed out. Thackeray said that when Mumbai was won for Maharashtra 'with a lot of blood struggle and the supreme sacrifice of 105 Marathi people, Sachin was not even born' and that he might not be aware of it.

"Cricketers may talk big things about the country, but ultimately play only for themselves. Do cricketers ever bother about the problems confronting the country, the inflation, slums proliferation in Mumbai, the influx of people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bangladeshi Muslims?" Thackeray said.

The Sena supremo signed off with 'a friendly advice, in your own interest' to keep off politics. The newspaper editorial also blasted Sachin for the comment and said that had he not been Sachin the cricketer, he would have probably ended up in one of the Sena shakhas in Bandra asking for justice for himself from the "trouble" caused by non-Maharsahtrians, warning him to think twice before making such statements.

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