Mumbai, June 10: The truce between Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena, following clashes between workers of the two parties over senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar's remarks about Sena chief Bal Thackeray last month, has turned out to be short-lived.
At a largely-attended rally here today, senior NCP leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister R R Patil, targeted Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray over the tenor of his diatribe against Ajit Pawar. At a rally of RPI-Sena-BJP combine here yesterday, Uddhav had flayed Ajit Pawar for criticising his father and called him “nalayak” (worthless).
“We don't come in anyone's way but if someone crosses our path, our party workers know how to deal with him,” Ajit Pawar said today. R R Patil also criticised Uddhav for his anti-Ajit Pawar tirade.
Last week, taking cue from the NCP, Sena chief Bal Thackeray had asked party workers to observe restraint after there were clashes between Sena and NCP workers at some places in the state.
State NCP president Madhukar Pichad had earlier asked party workers to observe restraint and desist from undertaking programmes like burning effigies and demonstrations in response to the Sena's reaction.
This was after police resorted to mild cane-charge to disperse activists of Shiv Sena and NCP in Pune, during a demonstration by NCP to condemn an editorial in Samana, the saffron outfit's mouthpiece, which contained some allegedly derogatory remarks against Ajit Pawar. Meanwhile NCP supremo Sharad Pawar today questioned RPI leader Ramdas Athawale's allegiance to B R Ambedkar's ideals, in the light of Athawale's joining hands with Shiv Sena and BJP. Speaking at a rally on the occasion of 12th foundation day of NCP here, Pawar said that after renouncing Hinduism, Ambedkar had given 22 pledges to his followers. One of them was not to worship Hindu gods, and shun rituals supervised by Brahmins.
“Athawale has now joined hands with people who like to call themselves Hindu Hriday-samrat...Athawale has given up Ambedkar's ideals,” Pawar said, without naming Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.
Saying that for BJP, Hindutva was nationalism, he asked, “How can one religion be equated with nationalism when India is a multi-cultural and multi-religious country?” Saying that Athawale had a democratic right to choose his path, the NCP chief said, “I am only worried that he has gone away from Ambedkar's ideology.”
He added that Athawale had helped NCP in the past, and he got some help in return.
“We did not do favours to each other. Athawale broke ties with NCP and contested Lok Sabha election last time from the Congress's quota and lost. We had made him and his colleagues ministers in my government in the state.
“After his loss, he got angry and took a different path for Assembly polls, but he did not get people's support...Now he has taken a different route. I wish him well,” Pawar said. PTI