The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said NDA constituent Shiv Sena was never a ‘Hindutvavadi’ outfit and was pretending to be one only for political gains.
VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain said that merely chanting King Shivaji’s name does not make Shiv Sena a ‘Hindutvavadi’ (one championing the Hindutva cause) party.
“I don’t think Shiv Sena was ever a Hindutvavadi organisation. It is the media which gave this tag to Shiv Sena after Babri mosque was demolished,” Jain said.
“It is pretending to be a Hindutuvavadi organisation for political gains,” he added.
His remark comes against the backdrop of stinging verbal exchanges between long-standing allies Shiv Sena and BJP leaders ahead of Maharashtra civic polls, voting for which was held on Tuesday.
Seeking to buttress his claim, the VHP leader stated late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray himself was “clueless” about his party workers bringing portions of the mosque down in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya in 1992.
“He (Thackeray) himself had said he had no clue about it. But he said he was a proud man if his party men demolished the mosque. That one statement made them Hindutva champion…You don’t become Hindutvavadi by merely chanting Chhatrapati Shivaji’s name,” Jain claimed.
Apparently referring to Shiv Sena’s ‘sons-of-the-soil’ campaign in Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai, Jain said the party is rather a “fissiparous” force, which targeted its own Hindu brothers from south and north India for “narrow benefits” and does not understand broad concepts of Hindutva.
“When they talk about Hindutva…Are Hindus from Tamil Nadu not Hindus? Whether Hindus from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are not Hindus? Even today, they are beaten there (in Mumbai).
“Which Hindutva definition is this? Those who are fissiparous, they somewhere do not do justice to the broad concept of Hindutva,” Jain said.
The VHP leader further questioned Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray why his party did not take up broader issues like that of Bangladeshi intruders or drug mafias.
Jain also refused to accept the Shiv Sena-BJP tie up as an “alliance of Hindutva” and said people from areas where municipal elections are being held in Maharashtra will give the Thackeray-led party a befitting reply.