Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is not bigger than Maharashtra. That’s what Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna said in its Sunday edition.
In his weekly column, Saamna’s Executive Editor and Sena Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut came down heavily on Tendulkar.
The article said that Mumbai was included in Maharashtra, not because of Tendulkar’s record-breaking feats but because of the hundreds of local people who had laid down their lives fighting for it.
Earlier, Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, had slammed Tendulkar for making a statement that Mumbai did not belong to any particular person and all the countrymen had equal right to live in the city.
Justifying Thackeray’s ‘advice’ to Sachin that he better play the game and stay away from politics, Raut said that cricketers could not be compared with revolutionaries such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bhagat Singh and Rajguru who sacrificed their lives for the country.
The article said that Tendulkar had not helped Marathi players.
“There is no instance of Sachin, who no doubt is a big player, extending a helping hand to any Marathi player.
“He did not even help [a close friend] Vinod Kambli,” said Raut. “On the other hand, Sunil Gavaskar appears a true Marathi. During Gavaskar’s captaincy the Indian team had more Marathi players. Gavaskar ensured that Suru Nayak and Zulpikar Parkar played Test cricket. So did several other Marathi players, albeit very few matches.”
Raut blamed Tendulkar for giving Samajwadi Party Member of Legislative Assembly Abu Azmi — whom Raj Thackeray supporters had assaulted for taking the oath in Hindi — undue advantage. “Azmi drew strength from Sachin’s statement and invited non-Marathis to Mumbai.”
‘Thackerays not true sons of soil’
All India Congress Committee General Secretary Digvijay Singh questioned Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray’s credentials as true sons of the soil at a public meeting held in Indore on Sunday.
“They (the duo’s forefathers) went from Balaghat (a district in Madhya Pradesh). So how can they be true Mumbaikars?” said Singh.
“The real Mumbaikars are Majhi and Kolis (two communities of fishermen)”, said Singh.