Shiv Sena took a dig at its old ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying the saffron party was clueless about the views of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
An editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, which are the views of its president Uddhav Thackeray, made Modi’s toilets-first-temples-later remark a target of its scathing criticism.
Addressing a college students’ gathering, Modi had remarked that he would prefer to provide sanitation to millions of people than build temples, which many read as a deviation from his hardline Hindutva line.
The editorial said Modi’s remark shows that he is laying the agenda and “the party is running behind trying to catch up with him”.
“The government should now appoint Modi as the brand ambassador of the toilet project and pay the BJP for publicity,” the editorial said.
The piece expressed surprise at why Congress criticised Modi for his remarks, as rural development minister Jairam Ramesh had said pretty much the same thing in 2012.
“He (Modi) has said Jai Jairam instead of Jai Shriram, which has confused the BJP and it does not know what stance he will take next,” he said.
On Modi’s elevation as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Thackeray had said last month that his party hoped Modi will not dilute his hardline Hindutva.
However, in the Saamna piece, Thackeray said “it seems the UPA and the BJP have swapped ideologies”.
“From the time Modi has put forward this thought, the Congress leaders, right from Digvijaya Singh, have become Hindutva supporters…. Earlier, when Ramesh expressed his views, BJP, VHP and the Sangh Parivar criticised him. Now, BJP leaders are defending Modi,
Both Modi and Ramesh should also talk of the illegal mosques and Madarsas and replace them with schools and public toilets,” the editorial said.