The Shiv Sena on Friday targeted Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for his alleged statements during poll campaigning in Bihar on Thursday. They have threatened statewide protests against the Congress leader.
According to media reports, Gandhi, while addressing a rally, said, “You have been instrumental in shaping the economy of Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra. I want to ask Nitishji (Nitish Kumar) why Bihar’s people are forced to look outside the state for jobs.”
The statement has irked the Sena as they feel it is an insult to Maharashtrians. “Rahul Gandhi has lost his balance. Maharashtra is not so weak that it has to depend on Biharis. It is people like Shahu Maharaj, Phule and Ambedkar who have made Maharashtra what it is,” said Uddhav Thackeray, executive president of the Shiv Sena.
Thackeray added that the anti-Maharashtrian behavior is in Rahul’s blood. “In the book ‘Reporting India’, author Taya Zinkin writes that Nehru once said that Maharashtrians were monkeys unfit to rule themselves. So, the anti-Marathi feelings have gone down the generations,” he said.
The Sena also asked Congress Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Union minister Sharad Pawar, both Maharashtrians, to give their views on the issue. “If he thinks Maharashtrians lack capability then the current government should be dissolved,” said Thackeray.
Reacting to Thackeray’s comments, city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh said, “People know what Gandhi-Nehru family has done for the nation. For Rahul Gandhi, the people of Bihar are as important as the people of Maharashtra.”
Criticising Thackeray for picking up Gandhi’s statement out of context, Singh added: “It is true that the people who migrate to other places do play a role in its development. Even Maharashtrians, who have shifted or settled in places like Benaras, Gwalior and Indore contribute to development of those cities.”