Nagpur: Amid the row over a Shiv Sena leader suggesting an 'Azaan' recital competition for Muslim children, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday claimed the Sena has "junked" its Hindutva ideology propagated by party founder Bal Thackeray and is pursuing "vote bank politics".
Talking to reporters here, Fadnavis, who is the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, said the Shiv Sena has become "pseudo-secular", and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and party MP Sanjay Raut should speak on the issue.
The Sena, NCP and Congress are constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena Mumbai-South vibhag pramukh (division head) Pandurang Sakpal in an interview to an Urdu news portal recently likened 'Azaan' (a call for Muslim prayer) with Hindu ritual of 'aarti' and suggested holding an 'Azaan' recital competition for Muslim children.
"This is not the Shiv Sena of 'Hindu Hriday Samrat' (emperor of Hindu hearts) Balasaheb Thackeray. He had always fought on this issue and the Shiv Sena is doing just the opposite of what Balasaheb had said in his statements and articles in (Sena mouthpiece) 'Saamana'," Fadnavis said.
"The Shiv Sena has junked Hindutva for the sake of power and has become pseudo-secular. An appeasement policy is going on in the Shiv Sena. We have been saying it repeatedly...and it has become very clear," he said.
To a query, Fadnavis said, "We have never considered Muslims as vote bank and do not want appeasement policy.
Muslims are part of the 'Sabka saath sabka vikas'." But, the Shiv Sena is doing "vote bank politics", considering Muslims as vote bank, the former state chief minister claimed.