BJP and Sena fight over the use of Shivaji Maharaj and Bal Thackeray’s pictures.
Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Prty (BJP) has stocked a fresh controversy by comparing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with the late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. Members from the Sambhaji Brigade have objected to the comparison while the Congress and NCP have termed it as a ‘poll plank’ by the Sena and BJP.
In a bid to score brownie points over each other ahead of the BMC polls, Shiv Sena on Thursday registered a complaint with the state election commission (SEC) against the BJP for using Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s photo in their campaign. The BJP in turn objected over the use of late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s photo in the Sena’s campaigns, terming him as a national hero too. According to the Sena, using photo of the national leader to woo voters is against the model code of conduct laid by the EC.
Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai objected the use of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s image in the BJP’s campaigning. “I have registered a complaint to the EC against the BJP. They have violated model code of conduct by using the national hero’s photo to woo the voters. The BJP has deliberately done this. Shivaji Maharaj’s influence will be very open on the voters,” said Mr Desai.
BJP spokesperson Niranjan Shetty said that Bal Thackeray is also a national hero. “We don’t mind removing the picture of Shivaji Maharaj, but then the Sena is using Balasaheb’s photo for their campaign. He is also a national hero. Will they remove his picture?” Mr Shetty asked. Ridiculing the BJP over the argument, Mr Desai said, “It is very foolish on the part of the BJP. Bal Thackeray was the founder of Shiv Sena, hence we are using his photos. If Balasaheb’s image is used by the BJP then it will be violation of code of conduct,” he said.
However, Sambhaji Brigade leader Manoj Akhale said that Thackeray and Shivaji Maharaj cannot be equated. “Shivaji Maharaj is an internationally respected personality. He cannot be equated with anyone. He is a source of inspiration for many across the world. We respect Balasaheb Thackeray but this comparison by the BJP is not good. In fact, Balasaheb Thackeray’s father Prabodhankar Thackeray had said that when someone chants ‘Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai’ it is equal to 33 crore Hindu gods,” Mr Akhale said.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said both the parties have no agenda and hence they are playing with the emotions of the people.
“Public is watching everything and they are not fools,” Mr Malik said. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said both the parties have violated the code of conduct. “Now that the two are not contesting in alliance, one has complained against the other,” he said.