BJP alleges Sena for appeasing minority

Atul Bhatkhalkar & Shivsena

Mumbai : The ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra is again at the receiving end over a New Year calendar, published in Urdu. The calendar was published by the Wadala branch of Shiv Sena’s youth wing—Yuva Sena. Surprisingly, the Urdu calendar refers to Balasaheb Thackeray as ‘Janab’ Balasaheb Thackeray.

Attacking the Sena, the BJP MLA and Spokesperson Atul Bhatkhalkar said that Shiv Sena might have failed to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar, as proposed by Balasaheb Thackeray, it has managed to rechristened Hindu Hriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray as Janab Balasaheb Thackeray.

The BJP leader further alleged that the Shiv Sena published the calendar to appease Muslim voters. “The Urdu calendar mentions Muslim festivals, Muslim sun rise, moon rise; and not just that, it also refers to “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti” (birth anniversary) in a singular manner by just calling it “Shivaji Jayanti”.

Ridiculing the new “avtar” of the Sena, the saffron party strongly condemned it and said that the party is now appeasing minorities for “vote politics.” However, such gimmicks within the Sena didn’t defuse the contradiction between the two different ideologies of two allies, the Sena and the Congress. In another sign of rift within the Maha Vikas Aghadi, Congress announced that it will oppose any proposal to rename Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar. The renaming of Aurangabad has been Shiv Sena’s longstanding demand.

The Maharashtra Congress president and state Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat maintained that this issue does not find a mention in the MVA’s Common Minimum Programme. In a veiled dig at the Sena, Thorat added that the life of the common person cannot be improved by changing the names of cities. He stressed that the three-party alliance’s agenda was limited to empowering the common person. This comes in the wake of Congress openly expressing its displeasure at Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s criticism of its party leadership citing that a “weak opposition is bad for democracy”, Raut demanded that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar should replace Sonia Gandhi as the UPA chairperson.

The former chief minister and leader of opposition in state assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Friday slamming the Shiv Sena for allegedly “using” the issue of renaming of Aurangabad after Shambhaji Nagar in the civic elections.

Mocking the Sena, Fadnavis said that it remembers the renaming issue only when elections approach. The Sena raked up the issue again when the civic elections are round the corner, Fadnavis added and pointed out that Sena will forget the issue once the elections are over.
Over two decades ago, the Shiv Sena had first made the demand to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation general body had passed a proposal to this effect in June 1995, which was challenged by a Congress corporator in the high court and later in the Supreme Court.