Shiv Sena, Congress hit back at Devendra Fadnavis over Hindutva attack

A day after leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis launched a frontal attack on the Shiv Sena and accused it of diluting its commitment to Hindutva for the sake of power, the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has responded with a similar offensive
BJP opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis attacked chief minister Uddhav Thackeray over cases filed against independent lawmakers Navneet and Ravi Rana for threatening to chant the Hanuman Chalisa outside Uddhav’s residence (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
BJP opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis attacked chief minister Uddhav Thackeray over cases filed against independent lawmakers Navneet and Ravi Rana for threatening to chant the Hanuman Chalisa outside Uddhav’s residence (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Published on May 16, 2022 09:48 PM IST
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A day after leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis launched a frontal attack on the Shiv Sena and accused it of diluting its commitment to Hindutva for the sake of power, the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has responded with a similar offensive.

In his rally on Sunday, Fadnavis had equated the tri-party MVA government to the Babri mosque, claiming that he would not rest till he brought it down. He attacked chief minister Uddhav Thackeray over cases filed against independent lawmakers Navneet and Ravi Rana for threatening to chant the Hanuman Chalisa outside Uddhav’s residence and inaction over All India Majlis E Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi paying respects at the tomb of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Mughal is reviled for his religious zeal and the brutal murder of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj in 1689.

Congress pointed to how functionaries from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) minority wing had paid obeisance at the tomb of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb at Khuldabad near Aurangabad.

“Aurangzeb’s tomb is under (the) jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Modi government can control, restrict or even ban entry. Why Modi govt does not (sic) register (a) complaint against Owaisi?” asked Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant in a tweet.

He also tweeted photos of Khalid Qureshi, the vice-president of the BJP’s minority wing, paying his respects at the tomb.

Sawant added that Dr Darakshan Andrabi, who is the BJP’s national executive member and spokesperson and chairperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board, had visited Aurangzeb’s tomb amid Covid-19.

He said that when Fadnavis was the chief minister of Maharashtra, AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, Akbaruddin’s elder brother, had visited the grave in 2019. Sawant asked why the MVA government was being charged with inaction by the BJP.

When contacted, Qureshi said that he had visited the tomb as a member of the Maharashtra State Board of Waqf. “I am a member of the Maharashtra State Board of Waqf... I visit dargahs and mosques in Maharashtra and this was one of them. This was my official visit as a member of the waqf board,” he said.

Senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari declined to comment.

In a jibe at Fadnavis, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that it was difficult to stop a vehicle on a downward slope and a failed opposition. In a tweet, Raut said, “It is difficult for a vehicle on a downward slope and a failed opposition leader to apply brakes. [An] accident is inevitable.”

Shiv Sena leader Chandrakant Khaire, took on Fadnavis over his remarks on the renaming of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar. “When he was the chief minister, I requested him several times to rename the city. I have written several letters to the CM and with that, I used to request him that the same government is in power in Delhi, but no action from them. He should not make false statements,” Khaire, who is the Shiv Sena’s former MP from Aurangabad. In 2019, Khaire faced a shocking defeat at the hands of the AIMIM’s Imtiaz Jaleel.

Shiv Sena MLC and party spokesperson Manisha Kayande also targeted Fadanvis for dubbing the issue of inflation and employment raised by Thackeray in his rally on Saturday, as a “laughter show”. She, in a tweet, asked if laughing on such issues was their “Hindutva”.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Monday said there are important issues before the state and country and all the political parties should concentrate on resolving them instead of criticizing each other. They must ensure that communal harmony is not disturbed, he said, responding to the hardline Hindutva stand taken by the BJP and MNS ahead of the local body elections.

“All the political leaders should give importance to the major issues instead of making allegations against each other. Inflation and employment are two major issues we are facing at present. Besides, maintaining communal harmony is also important. All the political parties are expected to understand this and work accordingly,” Pawar told reporters in Satara.

Meanwhile, Union minister and former chief minister Narayan Rane slammed Thackeray for his remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). “The language used by Thackeray for the RSS and leader of opposition Devendra Fandavis is a blot on the culture of the state. He has been using abusive language towards others since he has nothing to talk about over his performance as the CM over the last two and half years. Thackeray was expected to speak about the performance of his government but he has done nothing for the people of Maharashtra. Instead of speaking about the job creation during his stint as the head of the state, he has questioned the nationalism of the RSS. He has exposed his real treacherous face by targeting prime minister Narendra Modi even after winning seats by using his name in the Assembly polls,” he said.

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