The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thackeray spits venom at Advani ‘circus’

Mumbai, Nov. 21: After the VHP, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has launched a fierce attack on deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani for his assertion in Parliament that India can never be a Hindu state.

In an article in the Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, Thackeray has accused Advani of “stabbing the nation in the back” and being part of a circus, along with the Prime Minister, which plays to the minority gallery.

Thackeray’s criticism comes close on the heels of a similar attack by Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal, who slammed Advani for his “anti-Hindu” remarks and went to the extent of calling him “pseudo secular” and being ignorant about Hinduism and Hindutva.

The Sena chief, who until now had left out Advani from his intermittent tirades against the NDA government, called the deputy Prime Minister a “fez carrying hypocrite”.

“We don’t need anyone to tell us if India can be a Hindu Rashtra or not,” he said, adding, “India was a Hindu Rashtra and would always remain one.”

Thackeray seemed angry that the statement had come from Advani, who is perceived to be a hardliner. It hadn’t helped matters much even after the BJP had clarified that Advani never said India could not be a Hindu nation but had only spoken of the non-feasibility of a Hindu state.

“Advani has put a dagger in the hearts of Hindus, though it is clear that he is making an attempt to woo Muslims,” Thackeray said, adding: “This is why he is keen to tread on the green path and is making such statements.”

The Saamna editorial also did not spare Vajpayee. “He (Vajpayee) is involved in a circus to safeguard his secular image,” it said.

Thackeray also criticised the politics of Iftar parties and said that political leaders were trying to “politicise” the holy month for their personal gains.

“The Congress started this trend of politicising Iftars but if such parties continue, Hindus will soon ask their (BJP) leaders to step down,” he added.

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