Sena reminds PM of Godhra, BJP to discuss ties with ally

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Mumbai, Oct 14: Amid the widening chasm with BJP, Shiv Sena on Wednesday termed as "unfortunate" Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comments on cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali's concert in Mumbai, reminding him of post-Godhra Gujarat riots when he was chief minister for which "he is known".

Meanwhile, BJP has called a meeting of its ministers and functionaries in Mumbai tomorrow where the worsening ties between the two parties are likely to come up for discussion.

shiv-sena

In wry comments that may not go down well with BJP at a time when the estrangement between the two parties which share power in Maharashtra and Centre is growing, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Modi,"is known and respected due to Godhra and Ahmedabad."

The 2002 Gujarat riots have been a sore point in Modi's otherwise remarkable political career. "The world knows Narendra Modi due to Godhra and Ahmedabad and we respect him for the same reason. If the same Narendra Modi has called the controversy surrounding Ghulam Ali and (former Pakistan minister) Khurshid Kasuri unfortunate, then it is indeed unfortunate for all of us," Raut said.

Raut was responding to Modi's comments in an interview to Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika in which he had termed the Dadri lynching over suspected beef-eating and cancellation of Ghulam Ali's concert under threat from Sena as "unfortunate" but with which his government had nothing to do.

"The Dadri incident or opposition to Pakistani singer is undesirable and unfortunate. But what is the central government's relation with these incidents", Modi said.

Though the official agenda for tomorrow's BJP meeting is to discuss the achievements of Devendra Fadnavis government's one year in office and ways of celebrating it, the issue of worsening ties between the ruling coalition partners would also be deliberated upon, a party functionary said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another went a step further and said the meeting will discuss the probability of snapping ties with the Sena, which had yesterday said BJP was free to opt out of the coalition government in Maharashtra if it was bored of its brand of "nationalism" and "patriotism", raising questions about the continuance of the party in the state government.

PTI

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