On Aug 8, Advani strongly criticised the government during a Lok Sabha discussion on the recent violence in Assam. "The UPA-II is illegitimate. It has never happened in the history of India.... Crores of rupees were never spent to get votes," he said.
Visibly angered by this, Congress president Sonia Gandhi exhorted her party MPs to shout him down. Leader of the House Sushilkumar Shinde was among those who protested.
"Advani is a senior leader. We all respect him. But today he has said the entire (2009) election was illegitimate. This is an insult for all of us. He should withdraw his words," the Home Minister demanded.
Later, Advani admitted to having made a mistake and clarified that he actually wanted to refer to the UPA-I regime that survived a no-confidence motion thanks to the cash-for-vote scam of Jul 2008.
"My comments were on the confidence vote and not on election. ... Those who were whistle-blowers were sent to jail. I withdraw the word illegitimate," Advani said.
However, Thackeray feels that the BJP leader was right to deride the UPA. "The word used by Advani is cent per cent the truth. There was no need to withdraw it," he wrote in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna.
Thackeray said that the UPA-II does not have any legitimacy since the government was misusing the CBI in order to get support from some parties.
According to him, the situation in Assam has worsened mainly due to the Centre's wrong policies. "The Congress considers Bangladeshis as a vote-bank and not as an enemy," Thackeray noted.
In his speech on Aug 8, Advani had similarly accused the Congress of encouraging illegal immigration. He had urged the government to first disenfranchise Bangladeshis and then deport them.