Watch | Thackeray's response to minister's Babri Masjid remark: ‘All rats were hiding when…’
Uddhav Thackeray demanded BJP minister Chandrakant Patil's resignation for his remarks about the role of Shiv Sena workers in controversial Babri demolition.
Shiv Sena faction leader Uddhav Thackeray trained his guns on minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Chandrakant Patil on Tuesday after the latter's remarks a day earlier about the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh. The ex-Maharashtra chief minister demanded rival and successor Eknath Shinde - who led the rebellion last year that fractured the Shiv Sena and ousted Thackeray - either resign or seek Patil's resignation. This was after Patil had disavowed (then united) Shiv Sena involvement in the controversial demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
Patil was quoted by news agency PTI as insisting that 'not a single worker of the Shiv Sena was near the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya when it was brought down by the Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini on December 6, 1992'. In reply, Thackeray said, "…the public is a witness, his statement is a lie."
Thackeray said his party's Hindutva philosophy is built around the idea of 'nationalism' and demanded the BJP explain its idea of Hindutva. "Where were these people all these years… when Babri (Masjid) was being demolished… rats were hiding in burrows," he declared.
“Why will we listen to these rats now?”
Shiv Sena founder and patriarch Bal Thackeray, who is Uddhav Thackeray's father, has often expressed pride at the involvement of party workers - or 'shiv sainiks' - in the demolition.
Chandrakant Patil, the state minister for higher and technical education, had referred to Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut - who is a senior leader in Uddhav Thackeray's Sena faction - and his statements about the Masjid demolition. He had asked if Raut had, in fact been present in the town at the time.
Patil also took a jab at Uddhav Thackeray after he accused Shinde of stealing Bal Thackeray's legacy, and said, "Balasaheb is the property of all Hindus and everyone is free to use his name (legacy)."
Patil's remarks have become the latest flashpoint between the two Sena factions since Maharashtra was driven into a political crisis after Shinde - with help from the BJP and former chief minister (now deputy chief minister) Devendra Fadnavis toppled last June the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government that included Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.