Shiv Sena Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut on Sunday hit out at the BJP for opposing Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's directive to state police to keep a record of migrants coming here from other states, claiming the BJP was raking up the 'outsider' card with an eye on the Uttar Pradesh Assembly and Mumbai civic elections due next year.
Raut in his weekly column 'Rokhthok' in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said Thackeray (during a law and order review meeting with top police officials on September 13) did not name any particular state while referring to migrants, "but the BJP declared that the CM meant North Indians".
"This is nothing but an attempt to create divisiveness, and cases should be filed against such people," said the Rajya Sabha member, who is the executive editor of 'Saamana'.
Mumbai is home to Bengali, Odiya, Assamese, Tamil, Telugu-speaking people, and the city's Matunga and Dharavi areas are dominated by South Indians. They never call themselves outsiders, he said.
Raut said Bengalis hold Durga Puja celebrations at the Shivaji Park around the same time as the Shiv Sena's Dussehra rally, and Bengalis never fear and call themselves outsiders.
He further said the Tamil, Telugu people and Muslims celebrate their festivals here, and Gujaratis, Marwaris, Jains have become an integral part of Mumbai's life. Then whom does the BJP consider as outsiders? Raut asked.
"The country may be one, but maintaining law and order is a state subject. It is the job of the state government to take action. Without understanding what Thackeray meant, the BJP raked up the outsiders and migrant card with an eye on the UP and Mumbai civic polls," he said.
He said "if the "BJP's love is for outsiders who help in terrorist activities, atrocities against women and make life miserable for the 'sons-of-the-soil', it is not right".
Raut, whose party shares power with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra, said no one considers the rich as outsiders. Only those who migrate in search of livelihood are called outsiders and this is sad, he added.
Those playing the 'outsider' politics in Maharashtra should learn a lesson from the West Bengal Assembly election results where (Trinamool Congress head) Mamata Banerjee used the Bengali pride to defeat Modi-Shah, the Sena's chief spokesperson said.
Raut said Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil asked why only outsiders were being blamed and whether Marathi people do not commit crime.
"This shows the deep-rooted hatred the BJP has for Marathi people," the Sena leader claimed.
"The answer to Patil's question is, why is the ED after the Shiv Sena and NCP leaders, are BJP leaders clean?" he sought to know.