Even as its alliance with BJP appeared teetering on the brink, Shiv Sena endorsed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s praise for Indian Muslims, saying he has “initiated a new chapter by giving a guarantee of the community’s love for its motherland’’.
“Modi has lauded Indian Muslims for their patriotism. He has initiated a new chapter by giving a guarantee of the community’s love for its motherland. Now, Muslims must not let him down,” an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana” said.
The party, an ally of BJP for 25 years, however, said Modi’s praise of patriotism of Indian Muslims should not be seen as a dilution of his commitment to Hindutva.
“There is no reason to believe that Hindutva in Modi’s mind has been diluted just because he called Muslims patriotic,” the editorial said.
Asking Muslims not to let Modi down after he had shown immense faith in them, the Sena said, “As a Prime Minister, Modi represents people from all communities and there is no reason why he should be against a particular community. But, he has been always painted as ‘anti-Muslim’ by pseudo-secularists of the country.”
If some people are involved in terrorism, it doesn’t mean that every Muslim should be painted as a terrorist, the Sena mouthpiece said.
In an interview to a TV channel, Modi had said Indian Muslims will live and die for India and not dance to the tune of terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda.
Shiv Sena’s approval of Modi’s remarks on Muslims, despite its hardline Hindutva ideology, could be seen as an attempt to keep the Prime Minister in good humour amid the continuing stand-off over seat-sharing for the Maharashtra Assembly polls next month.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had yesterday made a “final offer” to its long-standing ally, saying while Shiv Sena would contest 151 seats, BJP 119 and the rest 18 would go to smaller allies in the 288-member Assembly. BJP had promptly rejected the offer.