Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Saturday mocked the “silence” of all Biharis and BJP leaders from the state over Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s reported anti-Bihari tirade.
In the ongoing election campaign, Modi reportedly said: “We shall not tolerate a single Bihari in Gujarat elections.”
He was obviously hitting out at his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, who had barred him from campaigning in that state’s elections a few years ago on grounds that it could create “law and order problems”.
Thackeray, in an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna Saturday, said that more than any law and order issue, Nitish Kumar was clearly apprehensive over Modi’s campaign impact on the Bihari Muslim votes on his Janata Dal (U), which is allied with the BJP in that state.
“Modi has vengefully hit back at Nitish Kumar this time. But, in the process, he has barred all other top Bihari leaders in the BJP, including its Deputy Chief Minister Sushilkumar Modi, national-level leaders like Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Hussain and others. By keeping all Bihari leaders out, Modi has irritated not only Nitish Kumar, but all the people of Bihar,” Thackeray pointed out.
But, the Sena chief pointed out, all of them have chosen to remain silent on Modi’s outburst and nobody has even questioned him on the issue, while in Gujarat, everybody has quietly accepted it as a matter of that state’s ‘dignity’.
There are no agitations either in Patna or in New Delhi, no black flag demonstrations, no slogans or even murmurs of protest over Modi’s blanket ‘ban’ on all Bihari leaders, including from his own party, campaigning in Gujarat.
“However, if such a thing had happened in Maharashtra, all the Bihar leaders would have come down to protect the ‘dignity’ of Biharis, migrants, workers. Even minor leaders from Maharashtra and persons like Laloo Prasad Yadav would have raised the matter at the national level,” Thackeray said.
“This time, when it involves Gujarat, they (Bihari leaders) have meekly kept their tail hidden between their legs, proving that as far as Gujarat is concerned, besides Modi, nobody else counts,” Thackeray said, challenging them (Biharis) to hold ‘Chhat Puja’ celebrations on the banks of the Narmada next month.
Thackeray urged Maharashtra leaders and the ‘Bihar lobby’ in the media here to learn some lessons from Modi and not compromise on any front when it comes to protecting the state’s ‘dignity’ before the world.