THE TUSSLE over Hindutva sweepstakes ahead of the BMC polls has now firmly entered Babri Masjid territory, with former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis declaring Sunday that he was present himself to bring the mosque down, and spent 18 days in jail before that for ‘kar seva’ for temple construction.
Addressing a BJP rally here, Fadnavis said he could vouch that no Shiv Sena person was present at the time of the demolition. “I proudly claim I was amongst the active kar sevaks who were present at Ayodhya the day the Babri structure was demolished. I participated in kar seva for the construction of the magnificent Ram temple. I was lodged in prison, I was lathicharged,” he said.
The BJP leader’s statement followed the Shiv Sena asking where the BJP leaders were when parts of the mosque were razed in the early 1990s. “They asked where we were hiding… They got scared like hell when they were asked to remove loudspeakers from mosques and are now claiming that they brought down the Babri mosque,” Fadnavis said, asking in turn where the Sena leaders were that day. “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. Not only this, this Devendra Fadnavis spent 18 days in the Badaun jail before that for doing kar seva for the Ram temple,” he said.
“Tell me, which leader from Maharashtra had gone to Ayodhya when the mosque was brought down? Had anyone gone? No Shiv Sena leader was present there.”
Fadnavis added that veteran BJP leaders like L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Rithambara, Kalyan Singh had participated in the Ram temple movement, and fought a legal battle for the same.
Attacking the Sena further, Fadnavis said it was high time to unmask it over its claims regarding Marathi, Maharashtra and Hindutva. “Some people (in a hint at Uddhav Thackeray) believe they are Maharashtra. If anybody humiliates them, they perceive it as an insult to Maharashtra. If anybody honours them, they equate it to Maharashtra… Time has come to shake them and their mistaken identity. They should be told that you are not Maharashtra, you are not even Hindutva, ” Fadnavis said.
He also asked how the Sena could justify joining hands for power with the Congress and NCP, which questioned the existence of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.
Fadnavis said Mumbaikars must reassert their identity and independence by dislodging the corrupt Sena in the BMC polls.
Ahead of the prestigious civic polls, the BJP has stepped up its attack on the Sena. The other front opened by the Raj Thackeray-led MNS against the Sena – over the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa in public — is also seen as having the