Firing a salvo at Narendra Modi for trying to project a secular image of himself, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Monday said the Gujarat Chief Minister shot to power by the Hindu vote bank and he should not give them "poison of secularism" in his battle for "gaddi" in Delhi.
The Shiv Sena patriarch, BJP's oldest ally, also asked Modi not to forget that after Maharashtra, Gujarat was the laboratory of Hinduism and said whatever he was today, it was because of Hindu vote bank.
"Hindu ramsevaks were killed in Godhra riots (train burning) and that's why Hindus were inflammed. Do not kill them by giving them dose of the poison of secularism," Thackeray said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamna'.
"Modi's battle may be for the 'gaddi' (throne) of Delhi. But it is impossible without 'sadbhavana' (goodwill) of Hindus. It was the saffron flag which helped propel Modi to leadership position. It was due to Hindu vote bank that Modi reached the place where he is today," he said.
"It cannot be forgotten that after Maharashtra, Gujarat is the laboratory of Hinduism," he added.
Modi, often dubbed as Hindutva's posterboy, has sought to present a secular image of himself during his 3-day fast with religious leaders from different communities, including Muslim clerics, thronging the venue.
Thackeray's remarks came on a day his estranged nephew and MNS chief Raj Thackeray met Modi.
The MNS leader later told reporters outside the venue of the fast that it would be good if Modi became Prime Minister.
Thackeray also criticised senior BJP leader from Maharashtra Eknath Khadse, for euologising Gujarat at the cost of Maharashtra. "Though he belongs to BJP, Khadse is Maharashtra's leader and we feel that no leader from the state should defame Maharashtra in other states," he said.
Khadse, leader of opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, during his speech at the venue of Modi's fast, had said that "while there is light in Gujarat, there is darkness in Maharashtra.'