Hours after the Shiv Sena took potshots at the local Gujarati businessmen through an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, it retracted from its stand saying the community always stood behind late Balasaheb as mark of solidarity with Hindus and development.
The Sena editorial on Thursday, which is seen as the viewpoint of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, had asked if Gujaratis were ready to rally behind them during the Assembly elections, the way they have united in support of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
The editorial alleged that the Gujarati community and other non-Marathi traders had extracted a lot from Mumbai, used it like a “sex worker” to build their own cities of gold (Dwarkas).
“Will the Gujarati community stand behind us to realise the dream of hoisting the saffron flag atop Maharashtra’s Mantralaya? On this Maharashtra Day [state’s foundation day on May 1], the 11 crore citizens of Maharashtra need to pledge to ensure that the dream of the 105 martyrs does not go unrealised,” the editorial said.
It asked the Gujarati community if they plan to give back to the state, after getting so much wealth and fame.
This did not go down very well with Uddhav, who asked the party leaders in Mumbai to issue statements distancing the Sena from the editorial. The Sena wants to keep the Gujarati community with it till the Assembly elections in October.
Sena’s senior leader Subhash Desai said the editorial should not be misconstrued.
“The Sena-BJP combine has fought the elections together and have vowed to get the Congress out of power. The dream to make Narendra Modi the PM is soon to be realised. We should show the same unity in ensuring Mumbai’s development is all the editorial was trying to convey,” Desai said.
The statement also clarified that both Marathi and Gujarati youngsters were together on the state’s foundation day.
According t o Shiv Sena sources, the editorials written in Saamana are suggested, checked and cleared by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. But now that he is on a holiday, he couldn’t check the articles, usually authored by executive editor and party’s RS MP Sanjay Raut.