The Shiv Sena was never really a fig leaf-bearing peacenik, but it is certainly breaking fresh ground in intolerance.
After party MPs forced a fasting Muslim catering employee at Maharashtra Sadan to eat a roti that had fallen to the ground, apparently because the food failed to please their palates, the Sena drew flak, and in the face of it, resorted to some self-righteous chest-puffing about how the issue was being given communal overtones.
The problem, say what anyone will, is not really religious. It is civic: how about the Sena men learn some manners? Sena MP Rajan Vichare, who has in the past been booked for rioting, said sorry, but he wasn’t aware the employee he was stuffing food in the mouth of was a fasting Muslim. So it would have been okay for him to humiliate a non-fasting Hindu like this?
The Sena pawns helpfully explained why the MP did that: the man who cooks such bad food needs to know how it tastes. As sophisticated as that reasoning is, how would the Sena react if Mumbaikars forced its corporators to gulp the contaminated tap water they get from the BMC?
In any case, even though everyone has given up expecting decency from the party and decided to move on, the Sena refuses to shut up. The editorials in its mouthpiece Saamana are singeing the paper they are written on while targeting the minority community.
Shiv Sena claims it wants to be elected on the agenda of development, not religion. So why does it not get to work, because the craters on Mumbai’s roads aren’t going to fill themselves, other than with rainwater. The party needs to focus on concrete issues, not fuel a fire it itself started that may burn this city down, while its leaders whine over feasts.
How can it forget that if it doesn’t learn to behave, the public will show it the voting finger? When a party that ruled the nation for 60 years has been kicked out of power, one that has tasted power in the state only once shouldn’t be insolent enough to test the intelligence of the voter.