Congress MLA’s tweet against Gujaratis triggers controversy

The Maharashtra Congress MLA has said that he wants to begin Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India’ campaign from Mumbai by cleaning the city of all the Gujaratis who hate Marathis

Updated - May 23, 2016 03:56 pm IST

Published - November 06, 2014 06:59 pm IST - Mumbai

Nitesh Rane

Nitesh Rane

A tweet by a Congress MLA from Maharashtra expressing his wish to start Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Clean India” campaign by sweeping out Gujaratis out of the State has ignited controversy.

“Wanna [Want to] take part in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan n [and] start from [M]umbai!! Wanna start cleaning up all the Marathi-hating [Gujaratis] from there once for all,” Nitesh Rane tweeted on Thursday. Mr. Rane is the son of senior Congress leader and Maharashtra’s former Industries Minister, Narayan Rane.

“I am not against Gujaratis. My tweet was in reaction to a venomous campaign against Marathis and Maharashtra by certain Gujarati people,” he told The Hindu defending his tweet. Mr. Rane said it was his personal opinion and not his party’s.

“First, I am a Marathi and then belong to my party. I will not tolerate disrespect to my State. Those Gujaratis who hate Marathi people should not stay here,” he said.

In the past too, Mr. Rane had created controversy by tweeting that Gujaratis who praised Mr. Modi should leave Mumbai.

The Congress, however, was quick to disassociate itself from the comments. “The Congress disapproves such comments. I will speak to Nitesh, but this is not the party view,” Manikrao Thakre, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief, told presspersons.

BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said Mr. Rane and his comments were not worth responding to. The Shiv Sena called them appalling. “Such tweets show the nature of Congress leaders,” Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said.

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