Launching a full-blown attack on the Shiv Sena on the issue of Hindutva, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said he was present in Ayodhya when the Babri structure was brought down, and claimed that no Sena leader was there when it happened. Needling the Sena on the issue of Hanuman Chalisa and the arrest of MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana, Fadnavis asked whether the Uddhav Thackeray-led party was on the side of Lord Ram or Ravana. Addressing a BJP rally here, Fadnavis also claimed that he was lodged in Badaun central jail for 18 days for doing ‘kar seva’ for the Ram temple construction purpose.
The former Maharashtra chief minister’s attack on the Shiv Sena comes in the wake of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party asking where BJP leaders were when parts of the mosque were razed in the early 1990s in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya. “They asked the other day where were we hiding when the Babri structure was brought downthey got scared like hell when they were asked to remove loudspeakers from mosques and are now claiming that they brought down the Babri mosque structure,” Fadnavis said.
He said he did not consider Babri a mosque, but a “dhancha” (structure) as “no Hindu can ever pull down a mosque”. “I want to ask you where you were when the structure was brought down? I am saying with pride that, yes, I was there to bring the structure down. This Devendra Fadnavis was there to bring the structure down. Also, this Devendra Fadnavis spent 18 days in Badaun central jail before that for doing kar seva for the Ram temple,” he added.
Fadnavis asked which leader from Maharashtra had gone to Ayodhya when the structure was brought down. “No Shiv Sena leader was present there at that time,” he said, adding that one of the 32 accused of the incident was present on the stage as he delivered his speech.
Fadnavis also heaped praises on late BJP leader Kalyan Singh, who was Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister when the demolition took place, for not allowing bullets to be fired at ‘kar sevaks’ and sacrificing the then state government there instead. “And you (Shiv Sena) formed a government with those who opposed Lord Ram and questioned whether Lord Ram had actually been born,” Fadnavis alleged. Attacking the Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Fadnavis also said that reciting Hanuman Chalisa amounted to sedition in Maharashtra on the alliance’s watch. He was referring to the action taken against the Rana couple recently after they insisted on reciting ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ outside ‘Matoshree’ – Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s private residence in suburban Bandra here. “What is said in their (Ranas’) charge sheet? That because of their announcement of reciting Hanuman Chalisa outside CM’s residence, they were toppling the government and hence, they were jailed,” Fadnavis said.
He also asked the Shiv Sena whether it was on the side of Lord Ram or Ravana. Further attacking the Shiv Sena, Fadnavis also said the party alone does not mean Maharashtra or Hindutva and its insult does not mean the insult of the state. The BJP is asked by its opponents in Maharashtra to talk about the alleged intrusion by Chinese troops into the Indian territory, he said while alleging that 50,000 hectares of Indian land was “donated to China” during the Congress’s regime.
Fadnavis said Indian soldiers showed valour in Galwan Valley against the Chinese troops. “When you say China is intruding, whose insult is it? It is the insult of those jawans who killed Chinese soldiers without weapons risking their lives and forced the Chinese troops to withdraw from the valley,” he added. Fadnavis praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over abrogation of Article 370 that gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. He hit out at NCP chief Sharad Pawar for saying whether reciting Hanuman Chalisa will resolve unemployment issues in the state. “The unemployment issue also cannot be addressed by attending iftar party as well. Don’t you need investment if you want to address the unemployment issue?” he asked.
Fadnavis questioned who will invest in Maharashtra which is facing load shedding. “You sent a deputy secretary to attend to the Mauritius prime minister when he landed in Maharashtra (recently). You did not respect him. Who will bring industries here then?” he asked.
Fadnavis accused the MVA government of indulging in corruption and scam during the pandemic, and also alleged that it was working to keep interests of developers and bar owners instead of the common people.