With the anti-north Indian comments of Thackerays raising a huge controversy, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday declared that there should be no leniency towards those stoking regional and communal passions.
"Unity and integrity are the basic conditions for progress of the nation and to fight terrorism. There should be no leniency towards those who seek to discriminate on the basis of religion and region," Gandhi said addressing a farmers rally in New Delhi.
Asserting that the country belongs to all and all have equal rights to it, she said that it is the responsibility of all to ensure security of life and property of every citizen in any part of the country.
Gandhi's strong disapproval of the "son-of-the-soil" theory came close on the heels of the anti-North Indian comments by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and his nephew and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray.
Raj started the controversy by his critical comments against north Indians which was followed by some stray instances of attacks in Maharashtra on people hailing from UP and Bihar.
Bal Thackeray, in a recent editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana had said Biharis were an "unwanted" lot in all parts of the country.
While Congress-led Maharashtra government has filed cases against Raj, it has sought legal advise on the Shiv Sena chief's editorial.