Shiv Sena reclaims credit for Babri Masjid demolition
Sena reclaims credit for Babri demolition
Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) projected itself as the sole winner in the Ram Mandir issue, its former ally, the Shiv Sena, did not shy from taking credit for one of the bloodiest chapters in the country's socio-political history - the demolition of the Babri Masjid that ultimately paved the way for the Hindutva brigade, including the BJP-Sena alliance, to the governments in the state and Centre.
The BJP celebrated across the country, so did the Sena, but took offense in not getting invited to the bhoomi pujan ceremony in Ayodhya, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed in the presence of the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
We did it
On Wednesday, the Sena's secretary and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's personal assistant Milind Narvekar, published a poster in the party mouthpiece Saamna, which had a background image of the Babri demolition. With pictures of Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray and his son, CM Uddhav, it said, "I am proud of those who did this." It seemed a risk well taken despite being in the government with secular partners the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, to show its attachment with Hindutva roots. The Sena has always said that its Hindutva stand was independent of the common minimum programme of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government that was formed with the sole purpose of keeping the BJP away.
The poster published in Saamna yesterday
Effort to discredit the Sena
In Saamna the editorial slammed the BJP for discrediting the Sena and others in the mandir movement success. It said Balasaheb Thackeray became the Hinduhrudaysamrat after owning up that Shiv Sainiks had brought down the Babri Masjid. He (Balasaheb) had said he was proud of the Sainiks who demolished the disputed structure. "But the Shiv Sena is not invited despite playing a significant role. The sacrifice of karsevaks (the agitators who were killed in the movement or booked for the act) can't be forgotten," said the editorial.
The Congress and NCP did not react to the Sena's claims, but the former's various leaders welcomed the bhoomi pujan keeping in mind the receding Hindu vote bank, but also snubbed the BJP while describing the virtues of Ram.
Tongue-in-cheek by Congress
In her Twitter post, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hoped that the bhoomi pujan became an occasion for national unity, fraternity and cultural congregation. Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter, "Ram is love and can never appear in disgust; Ram is compassion and can never appear cruel; Ram is justice and can never appear in injustice."
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant tweeted that the majority of the BJP did not follow the ideals of Lord Ram. "The chanting of 'Ram' converted Valya Koli (a fisherman) into Maharshi Valmiki (who wrote the Ramayana), but the BJP and RSS leaders always wish that people die," he tweeted on Wednesday.
The BJP started celebrating from Tuesday itself. It organised the festival of lights, distributed sweets, and held recitals of the Ramayana. Moments before the ground-breaking ceremony, former CM Devendra Fadnavis recited a song, 'Jago to ek baar, Hindu jago to' that had become a rage among the karsevaks. To bring in the current context, the ex-CM also added a stanza describing PM Modi's role in making the mandir a reality.
"The song gave us a new high every time we sang it during the karseva and the entire Ram Mandir movement. I revived the memories by presenting it," he said.
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