Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut had a riposte to BJP allegations of hooliganism after yesterday's clash between the workers of two parties outside the Sena Bhavan in Mumbai's Dadar area. "No one needs to give us a certificate on being goondas, we are certified," the senior Sena leader told reporters today. Then he explained saying, "When it comes to Marathi pride and Hindutva, we are certified goondas", pointing out that the party office was a symbol of the state and its people.
The Sena and BJP workers came to blows yesterday outside the Sena Bhavan after the BJP youth wing held a protest march against "offensive'' remarks in Sena mouthpiece Saamana about a land deal controversy in Ayodhya. Accusing the Sena workers of hooliganism, the BJP also alleged that they had assaulted a woman member of the party.
The Sena said they had received information that the BJP workers were coming to vandalise the party office.
"We were first told that BJP workers were coming to protest, later we learnt that they are coming to vandalise the Sena Bhavan. So we stopped them before they could reach near it," Sena MLA Sada Sarvankar was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
"Balasaheb Thackeray used to sit at the Shiv Sena Bhavan. If someone charges at the Shiv Sena Bhavan, we will answer and if that's called goondagiri, then we are goondas," Sanjay Raut said today.
"Why did the BJP get so agitated? What did the Sena editorial say? It just sought clarification on the allegations and demanded that if the charges are proved false, those who levelled them should be punished. Is asking for a clarification a crime in this country? The editorial nowhere mentions that the BJP is involved in it. Can't you read and write? First understand what the allegations are and what the Shiv Sena spokespersons have said. Are you educated or not?" added the Sena leader who is also the editor of Saamna.
The BJP, a former ally of the Sena, accused the party of "defaming Lord Ram" for political reasons.
"The Sena was once proud of the demolition of the Babri mosque… Sonia or Vadra (Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra) have now become the Sena's deities," state BJP leader Ashish Shelar was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.