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Leave communal issues out of cleanliness drive

First-term Congress Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Nitesh Rane has stirred a controversy with remarks that he wants to begin Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India’ campaign from Mumbai by “cleaning” the city of Gujaratis.

Nitesh has been slammed by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress too, has distanced itself from his comments which came via Twitter. Nitesh had tweeted that “Wanna take part in Swacha Bharat abhiyan n start from mumbai!! Wanna start cleaning up all the Marathi hating gujjus from there once for all,” he said.

The tweet smacks of desperation and a publicity at any cost approach. His justification that Marathis do not get accommodation of their choice in the city because they are Marathis and non-vegetarian is yet another attempt at starting an unnecessary fire.

With his father Narayan Rane losing by more than 10,000 votes in the recent election, Nitesh’s rant is seen as a measure to gain some popularity and of course, hit the headlines.

While it is expected that the BJP should slam him, it is also good that the Congress party has termed his remarks reprehensible, What is particularly distasteful is his attempt to give a communal colour to the cleanliness campaign. The cleanliness campaign should be simply an effort to clean up Indian cities.

Nitesh should realise that sensational tweets might gain him some short-termed publicity but nothing more. Today, the people have wised up to politicians trying to create schisms for personal gains. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which played on the North Indians vs. Marathis some time ago, got its comeuppance in the Vidhan Sabha elections. Today, its is not about polarisation but development and taking the country ahead.

It is strange that Nitesh cannot feel the pulse of the people and has resorted to a cheap, tardy, old hat political trick of pitting one community against the other. There have been attempts at pitting Marathis against Gujaratis in the recent past, and this is the latest. The people and parties must reject this completely. Silence is golden Nitesh, especially in your case.

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