On Wednesday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used to go and meet yesteryear don Karim Lala. Congress leaders naturally took umbrage at this statement, with Sanjay Nirupam and Milind Deora tweeting their criticism.
"There was a time when Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Sharad Shetty used to decide who would be Police Commissioner of Mumbai and who would sit in the 'Mantralaya'. Indira Gandhi used to go and meet Karim Lala. We have seen that underworld, now it's just 'chillar'," Raut had said.
Karim Lala, incidentally, operated in smuggling, narcotics, gambling, forced property evictions, and extortion rackets in Mumbai for over two decades.
Raut on Thursday took to Twitter to clarify his stance.
He said that as a leader of the Pathan community, Kareem Lala had led an organisation called 'Pakhtun-e-Hind'.
"It was in this capacity of the leader of Pathan community that he met several top leaders including Indira Gandhi," he said.
He accused "those who do not the history of Mumbai" of twisting his words.
"I have never shied away from praising Indira Gandhi as an iron lady who took decisions with iron fist. Surprisingly those who do not history of Indiraji are shouting on top of the voice.," he said.
In response, Congress leader Nirupam on Thursday suggested that it would be better if "Mr Poet of Shiv Sena continues reciting light-hearted poetry of others to entertain Maharashtra."
He said the Shiv Sena leader should take back his remark.
Milind Deora too criticised the comment, calling Indira Gandhi "a true patriot who never compromised on India’s national security".
Taking to Twitter he wrote that "as former @INCMumbai President" he demanded that Raut withdraw his "ill-informed statement".
"Political leaders must show restraint before distorting the legacies of deceased Prime Ministers," he wrote.
(With inputs from agencies)