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... With love from Shiv Sena

In a complete reversal of its traditional anti-Valentine?s Day stand, the party has sprung a surprise. Read on...

india Updated: Feb 10, 2006 03:02 IST

Love is in the air, and it’s certainly not only among lovebirds.

In a complete turnaround from its traditional anti-Valentine’s Day stand, Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna has actually started giving lovers tips about what to buy their Valentines this year.

In an article titled Hridayi Vasant Phultana (As Spring Blossoms In Hearts) that was published in its Thursday edition, Saamna gives its readers tips on what gifts are hot this Valentine’s and what are not.

Quoting owners of two gift-shops on how they have stocked a variety of items for Valentine’s Day, the paper goes on to inform its readers that soft toys are popular with the women, while diamond rings would also be welcome. Other gift options include silver nose rings, toe rings and bracelets specially imported from Italy and Bangkok.

So what’s behind the change of heart? Saamna executive editor Sanjay Raut isn’t saying. “You will come to know about it on February 14,” he says cryptically.

Incidentally, in an effort to attract the youth to his yet-to-be formed party, Raj Thackeray has asked his supporters not to oppose Valentine’s Day celebrations. Raj, who is touring the state, told the media that he would “neither oppose, nor support” the ‘Valentine culture.’

In the past, the Shiv Sena, which has always claimed that Valentine’s Day is a western concept that corrupts the youth, has trashed shops selling Valentine’s cards and harassed students caught exchanging flowers and gifts.

Though Uddhav Thackeray’s loyalists are firm that they will oppose the celebrations, many doubt whether the opposition would be strong enough this year since the Saamna article is likely to confuse Sena activists and because activists of the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena — normally at the forefront of such attacks — are ignoring the celebrations.

Sena ally, the BJP, is also in no mood to play spoilsport on February 14. It has distanced itself from the threats by Uddhav’s supporters to disrupt celebrations.

“Force should not be used in such matters,” state BJP spokesman Vinod Tawde told HT on Thursday. “Those who want to celebrate Valentine’s Day should have the freedom to do so. The choice should be left to individuals and not imposed from outside,” he added.

First Published: Feb 10, 2006 02:18 IST