Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Monday said the BJP should ask its leaders about the Sena’s role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, hitting back at BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis for his comment that there was no Sena leader when the Babri structure in Ayodhya was brought down.
Talking to reporters, Mr Raut claimed the BJP and its “sister concern”, alluding to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, are trying to rake up the issues of recitation of Hanuman Chalisa and Ayodhya to divert attention from issues like unemployment, inflation and the Chinese incursion.
“If someone says where were Shiv Sainiks when the Babri Masjid was demolished, (then) they should ask their leader (late) Sunder Singh Bhandari where was the Shiv Sena. Check the CBI report of that time. Check the IB report,” the Shiv Sena’s spokesperson said.
“Those who don’t have knowledge and ask where was the Shiv Sena will get answers to it. The situation has changed, so have the issues. People will not pay heed to it (the issues being raked up),” the Rajya Sabha member said.
Earlier, attacking the Shiv Sena on the issue of Hindutva, Mr Fadnavis on Sunday said he was present in Ayodhya when the Babri structure was brought down, and claimed no Sena leader was there when it happened.
On Sunday, addressing a rally in Aurangabad, MNS president Raj Thackeray had said he was firm on the May 3 deadline for removal of loudspeakers, which he termed as a nuisance, from mosques, and added that if it was not done, then all Hindus should play Hanuman Chalisa outside these religious places.
Mr Thackeray also said if the Uttar Pradesh government could remove the loudspeakers, what was stopping the Maharashtra government, led by his estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray, from doing so.
Reacting to it, Mr Raut said loudspeakers is not an issue and that there are other pressing issues in the city.
“People know who is providing electricity to these loudspeakers. This is not Hindutva,” the Shiv Sena MP said, alluding to BJP’s alleged support to the MNS on the issues without explicitly specifying it.
Mr Raut further said the matter of loudspeakers comes under the law department.
“This (raking up such issue) is against the unity of the country. Our stand is that people should not be affected due to loudspeakers. We have staged protests over this issue, and after that the Supreme Court came up with guidelines,” Mr Raut said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)