Mumbai, May 14: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today lambasted his one-time protege, and present Maharashtra PWD minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, for questioning the ideological contradictions in the saffron party's newly-formed alliance with Ramdas Athavale's RPI.
In an editorial in the party mouthpiece "Saamana", Thackeray said Bhujbal, who had once washed the Hutatma Chowk (memorial of martyrs of Samyukta Maharashtra movement in Mumbai) after dalit mobs had been there during a protest, or had accused NCP chief Sharad Pawar of corruption during his earlier avatar as Shiv Sena leader, should not talk about others' change of heart.
At a recent NCP meeting Bhujbal had ridiculed coming together of RPI and opposition Sena-BJP, commenting that leaders of both groups should clarify their stand on various issues, including reservations, where their stands were poles apart.
He wondered if Shiv Sena supremo had given up his opposition to caste-based reservations, or to the renaming of Marathwada University after B R Ambedkar.
"If that is so, hat's off to Athavale, because he managed (to persuade Thackeray to change his views) what I could not. I had to switch sides," Bhujbal had said.
Bhujbal, now with NCP, quit Sena in early 1990s, to join Congress.
Without going into how the earlier differences between Dalit-backed RPI and Shiv Sena would be reconciled, Thackeray senior said in the editorial that "converts" like Bhujbal should "stay within their limits" and "not play with fire". PTI