Chief Minister Ashok Chavan today came out in strong defence of Sachin Tendulkar, whose "Mumbai for all" remark drew criticism from Shiv Sena, saying the master blaster had spoken from the bottom of his heart and that his statement will unite the country.
Taking exception to the article by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in his party mouthpiece 'Samana' criticising
Tendulkar, the chief minister said "the master blaster has spoken from the bottom of his heart."
"Sachin's statement has been made in true sportsman spirit. Though he is a Maharashtrian, he plays for the
country. This (Tendulkar's remark) will unite the entire country," Chavan said.
"I fully agree with him (Sachin). People will not support Shiv Sena's political game," he said.
Chavan said the entire country was proud of Tendulkar's achievement of completing 20 years in international cricket. "Sachin has done India proud," he said.
"I do not attach any importance to what some people have said about Tendulkar," the chief minister said without
naming the Shiv Sena chief. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut today said that party Chief had not criticised Tendulkar for the latter's "Mumbai for all Indians" comment.
"The remark made in today's issue of Saamana is not criticism of Sachin. Balasaheb commented in his capacity as an
elder...it was an elderly advice to Sachin," Raut told reporters here.
"There was no need for you to take a cheeky single by making these remarks. By doing so, you have got a run-out from
the 'pitch' of Marathi pschye," the mouthpiece quoted the Shiv Sena chief as saying.
Thackeray also expressed displeasure that Sachin had "left the crease" and moved to the pitch of politics by making
these remarks which had hurt the Marathi mind.