Steering clear of the “Marathi Manoos” statements by the two Senas — the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena — the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday blamed the Congress for allowing vandalism against north Indians and indirectly blamed Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan for making statements after not bidding for a Pakistani cricketer for his Indian Premier League (IPL) team.
“Shah Rukh Khan owns an IPL team [Kolkata Knight Riders]. While we think his statement that Pakistani players ought to have been included in the IPL is correct, we wonder why he did not bid for a Pakistani player,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told journalists here on Wednesday.
On the Sena’s personal attacks on Rahul Gandhi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi in its mouthpiece Saamna, Mr. Javadekar merely said: “You will have to ask the Shiv Sena for its comment, yes, we are in an alliance with the Shiv Sena, but we are different parties and have different views.”
Pointing out that the BJP had already made its point that Mumbai, like Delhi or Kolkata, belonged to all Indians, he added that the Congress had failed to check vandalism against north Indians. “When we were in office along with the Shiv Sena for five years, not a single north Indian was attacked or harassed. Why is the Congress letting this happen?”
Mr. Javadekar said he saw in this a clever political strategy to “keep this issue alive.” That, according to him, was exactly what was done when the State government dug out an old rule to reiterate the 15-year domicile requirement for getting a licence to drive a taxi in Mumbai.
Despite several pointed questions, the BJP refused to condemn the Sena threats against Shah Rukh Khan, and confined itself to pointing out that the actor was “correct,” even while it questioned his motive.
On the issue of continuing its ties with the Sena, Mr. Javadekar refused to say much. Those ties were continuing and no decision to the contrary had been taken, he pointed out.