'Divisive stunt' of Raj Thackeray for popularity: Cong

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{image-raj thackeray_04022008.jpg www.oneindia.com}New Delhi, Feb 4: Denouncing the ''vandalism'' by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, led by Raj Thackeray, against North Indians in Mumbai, the Congress Party today said such incidents were absolutely ''divisive stunts'' which exposed lack of any concerete political programme.

"Vandalism and violation of law and order by the activists of the Navnirman Sena, with the support of the Shiv Sena, is condemnable and totally unjustifiable," AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi told mediapersons, while pointing out that "their stand against the North Indian communities in general and Biharis in particular is against the very concept of India." Saying that "this type of politics of prejudice should be nipped in the bud," Dr Singhvi said : "We cannot divide India into narrow walls of intolerance." In this context, he said this was a divisive agenda of not only Raj Thackeray but also of his mentor and Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray.

"On the one hand we talk proudly of India's emergence as a global village. On the other, we have such a political formation who want to keep India as a village." Dr Singhvi said the violence in Mumbai against the Hindi-speaking people were merely to create sensationalism and media attention.

"This type of political stunt is enacted to get short term popularity. Long term popularity requires concrete political programme, instead of divisive politics." Asked if the Congress Party would seek de-recognition of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Dr Singhvi said it was for the Election Commission to decide on such matter.

Asked why the Congress-led government in Maharashtra had not acted on the issue, he said Mr Raj Thackeray had committed an offence under the Indian Penal Code and violated the People's Representation Act. "It is for the police to investigate the case. If an offence is made out, action will be taken." When his attention was drawn to the outbursts of Raj Thackeray against Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, he said the Congress Party did not view the stand of the Navnirman Sena as an issue relating to any individual.

UNI

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