Friday, November 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Thackeray takes on Advani

Mumbai, November 21
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray today launched an unusually sharp attack on Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani for his reported remarks that India can never be a “Hindu rashtra” despite the BJP having clarified that they were misinterpreted.

Attacking Mr Advani for what he called “stabbing the nation in the back”, he asserted that “one did not need anyone’s permission to declare India as a Hindu rashtra”.

“India was a Hindu rashtra and would always remain one,” Mr Thackeray wrote in the party’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ in a sharp reaction to Mr Advani’s reported statement in the Lok Sabha on Monday that India would never be a Hindu rashtra.

BJP spokesman V.K. Malhotra said in Delhi yesterday that critical reactions to Mr Advani’s speech was based on “wrong reports” since Mr Advani “did not say that India is not and will not ever be a Hindu rashtra”.

Mr Thackeray said in the article that those in power should remember that they had no authority to decide whether India was a Hindu rashtra or not and that Mr Advani’s statement was unwarranted since he was always perceived as a staunch supporter of Hindutva in comparison with Mr Vajpayee.

The Sena chief’s attack came close on the heels of the Sangh Parivar outfits like the VHP and the Bajrang Dal targeting Mr Advani.

He, however, gave enough indications that the Shiv Sena, a key ally of the BJP, was not going to pull out of the NDA government on the BJP leadership’s views on Hindutva issue saying it would be improper to do so since a neighbouring country was waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of any instability in the country. PTI


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