Leaders across the political spectrum spoke up in one voice against Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Monday, for his attack on cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar.
“I am a Maharashtrian and I am extremely proud of that. But I am an Indian first. And Mumbai belongs to all Indians,” Tendulkar had declared.
<b1>On Monday, the new issue of the Shiv Sena organ, Saamna, carried a signed article by Thackeray, where he said there was no need for Tendulkar to “take a cheeky single by making such remarks”.
Continuing the cricketing metaphor, he added Tendulkar had “left the crease and moved to the pitch of politics” which had “hurt the Marathi psyche”.
Thackeray’s diatribe brought forth a chorus of sharp rebuttals from all sides. Chief ministers of Maharashtra and Bihar, Ashok Chavan and Nitish Kumar lambasted him, as did Union minister Salman Khurshid, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, and RJD leader Lalu Prasad. All congratulated Tendulkar for having said what was “just right”.
Khurshid, persisting with cricketing metaphors, said Tendulkar had “clean bowled” Thackeray.
While Chavan said that Tendulkar’s comment would help unite the entire country, Nitish Kumar maintained that Tendulkar had risen in stature with these remarks.
Former Union minister Lalu Prasad said, “Sachin is a very good man and what he has stated is right.”