Accusing the Shiv Sena of being “pseudo-secular”, senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday asked why some people get angry over the recital of ‘Hanuman Chalisa’, and added that his party was not opposed to any religion but it was against appeasement of a particular community.
His statement comes days after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray demanded during a public rally in Mumbai that loudspeakers at mosques be shut down, adding that if it was not done, there would be speakers outside mosques playing ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ at higher volume.
Earlier in the day, Mumbai police detained four MNS workers for playing ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ on a loudspeaker in front of the Shiv Sena headquarters in Dadar area.
Mr Fadnavis claimed that there was a lot of anger among people against the party-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.
“No matter how much anybody hates saffron, it is the breath of BJP and the party will carry forward the saffron legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” Mr Fadnavis said in a press conference in Kolhapur, where he campaigned for the party candidate Satyajit Kadam for the Kolhapur North assembly bypoll scheduled on April 12.
“Why should some people get angry about the recital of Hanuman Chalisa?” he added.
Mr Fadnavis said the BJP was against the appeasement of a particular community and it was not against any religion.
“There is tremendous anger against the MVA government among the people. This government did not provide relief to Kolhapur during floods (last year) and left people to die during the COVID-19 pandemic to hold elections to Gokul Co-operative Dairy,” The former Maharashtra chief minister alleged.
“A Shiv Sena volunteer printed a calendar in Urdu, which cited Hinduhruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackery as Janab Balasaheb Thackeray. The Shiv Sena has become pseudo-secular. However, we are not against any religion or their beliefs,” he said.
Mr Fadnavis condemned the recent protest by a group of MSRTC workers outside NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence in Mumbai, and said, “I want to reiterate why there were journalists present and not the police. Allegations are levelled on others to hide the failures of the police department.”
On some parties blaming the BJP for the protest, he said, “Every party has brainless people who make some or the other statement. The BJP will attack from the front, not in this manner, if at all it has to. Since the media knew about the attack and not the police, some ruling parties are trying to divert attention by blaming the BJP.”
He also accused the MVA of “terrorising” people in north Maharashtra and wondered if this area had become like West Bengal, a state that has, of late, seen many incidents of political violence, including several people being burnt to death in Birbhum there.
The former chief minister hailed wrestler and Kolhapur-resident Prithviraj Patil for winning the ‘Maharashtra Kesari’ tournament and said his party will provide Rs 5 lakh for the latter’s training.
He said BJP was getting a good response during the campaign for the Kolhapur North bypoll, and said Mr Kadam will win the election.
“The campaign is now in its final stages and people will support the BJP and vote against the MVA,” he said.
He said the BJP was banking on its chemistry with people rather than poll arithmetic.
The bypoll to Kolhapur North Assembly seat was neccessitated due to the death of sitting Congress MLA Chandrakant Jadhav. The Congress has fielded late legislator’s wife Jayshree and she is supported by NCP and Shiv Sena. All three parties share power in the MVA government.
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