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Mah Cong backs Thackeray in Sai Baba issue

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Aug 23: Maharashtra Congress spokesman Hussain Dalwai has come out in support of Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray's opposition to the proposed Rs 22 crore golden throne for revered saint Shirdi Sai Baba.

''Sai Baba's image is that of a saint devoted to the welfare of the poor and the needy. He is above religious considerations.

Putting him on a golden throne is an attempt to take him away from the poor who worship him'', he told reporters here.

''The temple trust can utilise the money for the welfare of the poor instead. The issue will figure in tommorrow's party meeting where the government will be urged to look into the matter,'' he added.

However, Mr Dalwai said when the Sena chief speaks against the golden throne to Sai Baba, he should also desist from sitting on the throne presented to him by his followers at his residence ''Matoshree'' and abide by the preachings of Sai Baba.

To a question on muslims opposing singing of ''Vande Mataram,'' Mr Dalwai said Muslims were not against the first two stanzas of the national song.

''what they object is to singing the remaining and people who do not want hindus and muslims to remain united are trying to create a wedge between them. The first two stanzas are in salute to the motherland. Why should anybody oppose it,'' he said and added comments from certain Muslim organisations are not binding on the entire community, just like the views of RSS cannot be construed as those of the entire Hindu community.

Mr Dalwai criticised statements like ''if you want to live in India, you must sing Vande Mataram''. ''Nothing can be forced.

Singing Vande Mataram is not a certificate of anybody's nationalism.

RSS does not celebrate Independence Day or hoist the tricolour,'' he added.


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