New Delhi, Feb 1: The 'Saffron split' over the issue of migrant North Indians in Mumbai escalated further as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stepped in backing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) stand even as Shiv Sena's criticism against it hit headlines.
Emphasising that the politicians and leaders should focus on politics and not work towards diving the country, BJP vice-president Shanta Kumar said, "What the RSS has said (that North Indians should be protected in Maharashtra) is absolutely correct. All over India, every countryman has rights and all political parties should respect this basic feeling among all Indians."
Speaking on the same lines, BJP President Nitin Gadkari said that there was no conflict between regional and national identities and his party did not believe in discrimination on this basis.
“We respect as a ground reality that at a regional level there is tradition, heritage and language identity. But there is no conflict between regional and national identity. And so, we do not believe in any linguistic, religious or regional identity that discriminates or differentiates," Gadkari said.
On Sunday, Jan 31, RSS promised to protect the north Indians in Maharashtra, where parties like Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) constantly target the north Indian migrants.
This did not fit in well with the Shiv Sena.
"The time has come to remind RSS that Mumbai belongs to Marathi people only," Sena leader Manohar Joshi said in reponse to RSS chief Mohan Bhagat's statement.
Echoing what Mohan Bhagat had said, senior RSS leader Sheshadari Chari on Monday, Feb 1 opined, "Every Indian should be protected everywhere, not only on Indian soil but also outside it. If Indians are attacked in Australia, even there they require to be protected. So it is not a question of North Indians being protected in Maharashtra and South Indians being protected in Delhi."
While RSS' stand on the issue brought to light the rift between the allies BJP and Shiv Sena, BJP's latest move has left Bal Thackeray's Sena isolated in the 'pariwar'.