Shiv Sena pioneer of Hindutva politics, BJP ran away after Babri demolition: Sanjay Rauttext_fields
New Delhi: Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut took a swipe at former ally BJP on Wednesday and said his party's commitment to Hindutva was not limited to politics or elections but to ensure people get access to food, clothes and shelter.
Raut on Wednesday staked claim to the Hindutva plank and asserted that its founder Balasaheb Thackeray had ensured that "Hindus cast their vote in the name of religion".
When Babri was being demolished in Ayodhya, those espousing the Hindutva vote bank today had run away. It was the Shiv Sainiks and Balasaheb Thackeray who stood firm in favour of Hindus and were proud of Shiv Sainiks who had demolished Babri, Raut told reporters.
He was reacting to Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil's claim that Chhatrapati Shivaji was the first person to have created a Hindu vote bank.
I do not know whether Chhatrapati Shivaji created the first Hindu vote bank, but he established the first Hindavi Swaraj in the country.
"The teachings of Chhatrapati Shivaji were nurtured by Balasaheb Thackeray and earlier by Veer Savarkar in Maharashtra and across the country, Raut said.
Raut recalled that late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan had said that Balasaheb Thackeray had ensured that Hindus of the country cast their votes as Hindus.
Balasaheb had demonstrated for the first time that a Hindu vote bank existed in the country and ensured that Hindus cast their vote in the name of religion, Raut said referring to the Maharashtra Assembly bypolls held after the demolition in Ayodhya.
He said Shiv Sena MLAs were suspended from the assembly when they asserted that they had won the elections on the Hindutva issue.
We fought against the suspension and won. I do not recall any BJP MLA facing similar action, Raut said.
'Our Hindutva does not teach us to be scared. We stand firm, we fight and we win. Our Hindutva is not just for politics and elections. It is not limited to temples, he said.
'Our Hindutva is for ensuring that people get food, clothes and shelter,' Raut said.
The Shiv Sena leader's remarks came days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi denounced Hindutva politics, saying "Hindutvadis" have a lust for power and want it at any cost.