Debating India

GUJARAT

Thackeray comes to Modi’s rescue

Tuesday 22 June 2004

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray came out strongly in support of beleaguered Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and reminded the BJP that its defeat in the Lok Sabha polls was due to the party giving up Hindutva line and going in for "minority appeasement".

"You (BJP) came to power on the Hindutva issue. What was Advani’s Rath Yatra? You come to power on Hindu votes and then forgot it. Then you start wooing Muslims. This upset the Hindus," he said in an interview to a private news channel.

On the Modi issue, Thackeray told the BJP that it would be playing in the hands of opposition if it removed the Gujarat Chief Minister.

"It (removal of Modi) is an issue made out by the opposition for their selfish ends. Why are you (BJP) removing him under pressure?" he said.

"You (BJP) think of your party’s interest", the Sena supremo added.

Thackeray sarcastically remarked "voters have already removed everybody", but doubted if the new man coming in could not commit mistakes.

Noting that earlier BJP was practising hardline Hindutva and Advani’s Rath Yatra was an example of it, he said "they should have continued on the Rath".

Quoting Rabindra Tagore’s ’ Ekla chalo re ’, the Sena supremo asserted he would never give up Hindutva no matter whether BJP followed it or not.

P.S.

in The Times of India, Tuesday, June 22, 2004.

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