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Muslims voting rights: Uddhav defends Raut on Saamana write-up

Coming to the defence of party MP Sanjay Raut whose controversial write-up demanding disenfranchisement of Muslims to end vote bank politics drew flak from various quarters, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday sought to know why nobody reacted when MIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi spoke of “finishing Hindus”.

Raut’s write-up in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ sparked a massive outcry by political parties, minority outfits, commentators even though he yesterday held that the views he expressed had been “misinterpreted” by the media.

“I want to ask those who exploit Muslims for their political gains whether they would continue to do so if Muslims had no voting rights.

“We never said that Muslims should be stripped of their voting rights. We only highlighted how they are being exploited by political parties. If Muslims couldn’t vote, there wouldn’t have been vote bank politics,” Thackeray told reporters here.

Questioning those who had condemned the party’s stand on Muslims, Thackeray said, “Did people who are criticising the Saamana editorial speak against (Asaduddin) Owaisi when he talked about finishing Hindus? Why did nobody speak then?”

The Sena had, on Sunday, waded into a massive controversy by demanding that voting rights of Muslims be revoked as the community had often been used for vote bank politics.

“If Muslims are only being used this way to play politics, then they can never develop. Muslims will have no future till they are used for vote bank politics and thus Balasaheb (founder of Shiv Sena) had once suggested withdrawal of voting rights of Muslims. What he said is right,” Raut wrote in ‘Saamana.’

Delhi-based lawyer and civil rights activist Shehzad Poonawalla also filed a complaint with the National Minorities Commission and sought a direction to register an FIR against the Rajya Sabha MP.

He also wanted the Election Commission to initiate action against the Shiv Sena.

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