Questioning "silence" of the Shiv Sena over a communal remark made by AIMIM leader Waris Pathan, senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis has said that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party might have worn bangles, but the BJP will not keep quiet on the issue.
Speaking at a rally held at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai on Tuesday, the Leader of Opposition said he was unable to understand what is happening under the watch of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government headed by the Shiv Sena.
"Some Waris or 'Lawaris' (literally meaning orphan) gets up and says that the 100 crore are no match for the 15 crore. Who is this Waris or 'Lawaris' who says that the 15 crore are more than a match to the 100 crore. Our Hindu community is tolerant and hence India takes along everyone," he said.
Mr Fadnavis said the BJP is also proud of minorities, but it will not spare any "Lawaris if he takes the tolerance of our Hindu community for its weakness."
"The Shiv Sena may have worn bangles on the issue. In fact, our women don't like the usage of the phrase 'wearing bangles', hence, I will not use that phrase. The Shiv Sena may have been tight-lipped on the issue, but we will not keep quiet," he added.
Mr Fadnavis said the BJP possesses the strength to give a befitting reply to those who make such statements to pitch one community against another.
The Shiv Sena shares power in Maharashtra with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress.
While addressing an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) rally at Kalaburagi in North Karnataka on February 16, Waris Pathan, a former AIMIM MLA from Mumbai, had allegedly said, "We have to move together. We have to take Azadi (freedom), things that we don't get by asking, we have to take it by force, remember it...(We may be) 15 crore, but are heavy on 100 (crore), remember it".
He later retracted his statement.
Reacting to Mr Fadnavis' "bangles" remark, Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray sought his apology.
"Shri @Dev_Fadnavis ji, normally I choose not to comment back. Kindly apologise abt bangles comment: bangles are worn by the strongest of all - the women. Politics can go on, but we need to change this discourse. Rather disgraceful coming from a fmr CM," Mr Thackeray tweeted on Wednesday.