‘Allies’ at loggerheads again — while Sena says no to Indo-Pak cricket, BJP wants to host match in Mumbai
Once again the Shiv Sena and BJP are at odds — this time over cricket. The Sena, maintaining its stand against any revival of Indo-Pak cricketing, yesterday barged into the BCCI headquarters to disrupt a meeting between the Indian and Pakistani cricket chiefs.
Shiv Sena workers, who allegedly stormed the BCCI office, outside court after getting bail. Pic/PTI
On the other hand, the BJP has proposed that an India-Pakistan match be hosted here in Mumbai. The Sena has not only confirmed that it was responsible for the protest against the Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan yesterday, but a leader went as far as to say that the party was proud of this protest.
Maintaining that the party would continue to oppose any ties between India and Pakistan considering ceasefire violations at the border, a senior Sena leader said, “We do not want any cricket ties with Pakistan, especially considering what they have been doing to our country. We are not going to let any Pakistani cricketer play in India. We are proud of the Shiv Sainiks who protested.”
Also Read: 10 Shiv Sainiks held over BCCI attack
The BJP, however, has not supported its ally’s move. A party leader said top leaders had categorically told them not to ally with Sena on this issue as the party doesn’t have any problem with Pakistan playing here. Interestingly, BCCI’s secretary, Anurag Thakur is a BJP MP.
Attack on AAP
Through its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena also took a pot shot at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). “Why does Kejriwal want Delhi Police under him? When the Sena protested against the Ghulam Ali event in Mumbai, then AAP had welcomed him in Delhi and claimed that party volunteers would protect him. Why don’t these volunteers protect the girls in Delhi?” the Sena questioned in an editorial, referring to the sexual assaults on two minors in Delhi in one week. AAP convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had lashed out at the Centre, repeatedly asking for the Delhi Police to be brought under the state government’s control.
No TV debate
Meanwhile, the Sena also issued the message that none of its spokespersons will participate in any of the television debate. The party claimed that none of the channels gave them a proper platform to debate and put forth their ideas hence, the party does not want to participate.
BJP’s damage control
After BJP’s chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari justified the Sena’s protest as a democratic agitation, state BJP president Raosaheb Danve went into fire-fighting mode and said his party does not support the Sena ways. Danve even supported the idea of Mumbai hosting an India-Pakistan cricket match.
“If such an event between the two countries is held here, the state government will be responsible for providing security to the players,” he told media persons on Monday. CM Devendra Fadnavis had not commented on the incident till evening. His office chose to remain silent.
— Inputs by Dharmendra Jore