Taking a dig at Narendra Modi’s gag order to BJP leaders, ally Shiv Sena said such warnings in the past have not yielded any positive result and the prime minister himself gave “masala” to the media.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party, which often criticises its senior ruling ally on various issues, said BJP leaders who speak out of turn were in fact “inspired” by Modi.
Modi on Sunday had asked BJP leaders and ministers to refrain from making “irresponsible” statements, saying such comments hurt the party’s image.
Such gag orders have been given on earlier occasions too at party meetings, “but they have turned futile as BJP leaders continue to speak whatever comes to their mind”, an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.
Sharpening its attack on Modi, the Sena said, “BJP leaders and ministers must have been inspired by our prime minister himself to speak whatever comes to their mind.
“Till recently, Modi himself gave ‘masala’ to the media. Now the media feels the spices, pickle and papad given by (Congress chief) Rahul Gandhi and others are better.”
At the Sunday meeting, attended by BJP MPs, MLAs and other representatives, Modi had said leaders at times jump to make statements in front of the media and end up providing “masala” (fodder to controversies).
The Sena publication also criticised Union minister and BJP leader Santosh Gangwar for his reported comments that a “brouhaha” should not be created over one or two rape cases in a big country like India.
The remarks came against the backdrop of public outrage over the brutal rape and murder of a minor in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, and the sexual assault on a 17-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao allegedly by a BJP legislator.
The BJP’s bickering ally said Gangwar’s remarks were insulting to women and wondered why nobody is demanding his resignation.
“After 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, the then Home Minister, late R R Patil, had said such small incidents happen in big cities. The comments created a massive uproar and Patil had to resign.
“Gangwar’s crime is far more serious. Still he is sticking to his post and nobody has sought his resignation for insulting women,” the editorial said.
The Sena is a constituent of the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and also at the Centre, but it keeps targeting leaders of its senior partner on various issues.