Congress and NCP said people of the state will teach Shiv Sena a lesson for refusing to apologise over the cartoon that “lampooned” the Maratha community. Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant and NCP’s heavyweight Ajit Pawar said the Shiv Sena will pay heavily for “mocking and belittling” the Maratha community, adding that the ‘Saamana’ cartoonist has been made a scapegoat by the saffron party.
“This stand has exposed Shiv Sena’s double standards of making people apologise forcibly,” said Sawant, while taking press conference at Gandhi Bhavan.
“People of the state will teach Shiv Sena a lesson for refusing to apologise for the cartoon lampooning the Maratha community,” he said.
Sawant also hit out at Yuva Sena cub Aaditya Thackeray for saying that the Opposition parties politicised the cartoon.
“In November 2013, the Yuva Sena cadre had made a college professor give a written apology for asking Who Aaditya Thackeray?. In 2010, Aaditya had forced Mumbai University to withdraw a book from its curriculum just because it contained criticism of Shiv Sena,” he charged.
Meanwhile, addressing reporters Pawar said, “People from across the political spectrum agree that the demands of the Maratha community are valid. At a time when they are organising peaceful and silent protests, the Sena is busy mocking and belittling them. I am hundred per cent sure that they will pay a very high price for doing this.”
“While the cartoonist has expressed his regret, everybody knows that it is the editor of the newspaper, who is finally responsible for ensuring that no content that hurts sentiments gets published in his newspaper, or does not cause a law and order problem. In this case, the cartoonist was merely made a ‘bali ka bakra’ (scapegoat),” he said.
‘Saamana’ Executive Editor Sanjay Raut had said that there was no reason for him to apologise and that the cartoon had not caused any kind of dent or electoral damage to the party.
Pawar further said the NCP has not yet got into an alliance with the Congress for the upcoming local body polls.
“We are still in the process of a dialogue and no concrete decision has been taken as yet. But, this is clear…we want an alliance that gives us a respectable share of seats,” he said.
“We will not back any Congress candidate until we have fixed a formula. If the Congress puts up its candidates without a consensus, we will put ours as well,” Pawar added.