After facing flak for its ‘insensitivity’ to the ongoing Maratha protests over the publication of a contentious cartoon in its mouthpiece, the Shiv Sena turned the tables on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by slamming a BJP minister’s controversial remarks.
In an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday criticised social justice minister Rajkumar Badole’s statement, saying protests are successful because of the money poured into organising them.
“It is not right for a minister to say that protests are a play of money power. The BJP is in a spot because of Badole’s statement. What Maharashtra really needs now is a restrain on wagging tongues,” the Saamana editorial said.
“Has Maharashtra’s social system been disturbed ever since a new political system has come to place?” the Sena in its editorial said.
The social justice minister drew flak from the Opposition parties as well as Maratha communities when he made a statement at the International Buddhist Festival in Aurangabad, saying people come up nowadays, stage protests and demand reservations, and their agitation attracts crowds as they have more money.
Taunting Badole, the Shiv Sena said, “Lakhs of Dalits make their way to Chaityabhoomi on Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary. They are not brought there by offering money.”
Although Badole chose to make amends by clarifying that he didn’t the name of the Maratha community and was referring to the overall situation in the country, the row is likely to put the BJP in a spot, the Sena said. “With the Uttar Pradesh elections round the corner, BJP chief Amit Shah has been addressing rallies that get a huge response. Does this mean that it is a crowd rented by showing money? Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address attracts a large crowd. What kind of magic was done on this crowd? Badole should clarify,” the Sena said, adding that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis as usual chose to remain silent and this is not a good sign.
Recently, it was the Shiv Sena that was under the ire of politicians across parties as well as the Maratha community after it published a cartoon in Saamana lampooning the Maratha protests. The cartoon, a three-paneled caricature, showed a woman kissing a man, playing on the words ‘muk morcha’ (silent protests) as ‘muka morcha’ (kissing protests). Several Sena leaders from the Maratha community were also upset over the cartoon. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray ultimately apologised to quell the issue.