Raj pitches Modi for PM, uncle furious

Sep 20, 2011, 08:59 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh

As MNS chief promised Gujarat CM his party's support for the post, Sena's Bal Thackeray slammed him in an editorial in Saamna yesterday

As MNS chief promised Gujarat CM his party's support for the post, Sena's Bal Thackeray slammed him in an editorial in Saamna yesterday 

If there is any takeaway from the antics of the saffron parties, surrounding Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's Sadbhavna mission, political analysts say it is that rift begets rift, as the recent statements made by Shiv Sena's Bal Thackeray reveal.

Modi ka Raj: Raj Thackeray, chief of MNS, converses with Gujarat CM
Narendra Modi, at the latter's three-day fast for communal peace and
harmony in Ahmedabad. pic/vishal Yadav

Two days after two of his party MPs, Anant Gite and Bharatkumar Raut, were in Ahmedabad to support Modi's three-day fast on Saturday, Thackeray Sr criticised Modi in a strongly-worded editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna.

Sources from the BJP said that Raj Thackeray's presence in Ahmedabad, who vouched his full support to Modi for the post of the PM, might have something to do with Thackeray Sr's rancour.

Contrary to the party's stand supporting Modi, the Sena chief castigated Modi for his efforts to project a secular image of himself by accepting chants by Muslim clerics at the fasting venue.

Seizing the opportunity to express his displeasure with the Gujarat CM, Thackeray reminded Modi that he had come to power on the strength of the Hindu vote bank and should not give them the "poison of secularism, with an eye on PM-ship in Delhi".

The editorial coincides with his estranged kin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray's tour to Ahmedabad to convey his camaraderie with Modi. After meeting Modi, Raj told media persons in Ahmedabad that it would be good if Modi becomes Prime Minister. He then pledged the MNS' support for Modi's candidature to the post.

"This statement that may create severe heartburn among the Sena leaders," said a BJP leader.

Criticising Khadse
Thackeray also lashed out at Leader of the Opposition in State Assembly, Eknath Khadse, for painting a dismal picture of Maharashtra by eulogising Gujarat. During his Ahmedabad tour, Khadse said, "While there is light in Gujarat, there is darkness in Maharashtra."

The Sena supremo found it unacceptable. "No leader from Maharashtra should try to defame the state by criticising it in other states," he said.

This is not the first time that the Sena mouthpiece has taken an unkindly view of the Gujarat CM.

When Modi was appointed as the campaign chief for Maharashtra during the 2009 Assembly Elections, Saamna had written that Modi would never fill the void left by the late Pramod Mahajan.

"The angst may have something to do with Modi rising to the stature of Hindu messiah, the epithet that was once reserved for Thackeray senior," the senior BJP leader pbserved. 

  Moreover, the recent overtures by Raj to court the BJP have become a raging issue between the Sena and BJP, casting gloom over the their two-decade old alliance. 

Other leaders from the state who made it a point to visit Ahmedabad to support Modi include, senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, Leader of Opposition in State Council Pandurang Phundkar, party MLA Prakash Mehta, ex-MP Kirit Somaiya, Mahila Morcha chief Smriti Irani, Mumbai BJP chief Raj Purohit, Punam Mahajan and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale.


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