Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut
Photo Credit: PTI

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday slammed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that BJP leaders are doing politics over 'Azaan'.

Raut said that BJP leaders should talk about unemployment, falling GDP, and the economy, instead of Shiv Sena’s Hindutva. "Maharashtra BJP leaders are doing politics over 'Azaan'. Even PM has said there should be no overcrowding at religious places during COVID. Those saying Shiv Sena has left Hindutva, should stop this 'tamasha'. They should talk about unemployment, GDP, etc.," Raut told news agency ANI.

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".

Fadnavis on Tuesday said that the Shiv Sena has become "pseudo-secular", and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and party MP Sanjay Raut should speak on the issue.

"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 a vote bank and do not want appeasement policy. Muslims are part of the 'Sabka saath sabka vikas'."

According to a report by PTI, 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.

"A party worker told me that school-going children don't want to stay back at home. Then, I suggested an online Azaan recitation competition should be organised for Muslim students similar to Gita recitation competition. They (BJP) have habit of doing politics," Sakpal was quoted as saying by ANI.

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