Mumbai, Apr 12 : Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday sparked a major controversy by saying that Muslims in the country were suffering due to vote bank politics and that revoking their voting rights would solve their problems.
In an editorial in party's mouthpiece Samaana, Raut demanded that voting rights of Muslims should be revoked.
"Vote bank politics is being played in the name of fighting against the injustice meted out to Muslims. Their educational and health status is being used politically. This politics was once played by the Congress and now every other person calls himself secular."
"If Muslims are only being used this way to play politics, then they can never develop. Muslims will have no future till they are used to play vote bank politics and thus Balasaheb had once said to withdraw Muslims voting rights. What he said is right," the column in 'Saamana' said.
The "secular masks" of all the so-called secular political parties will be worn out, once their voting rights are withdrawn, the column said.
Taking a dig at AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi for challenging Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to come to Hyderabad, the editorial said, "Owaisi dares us to come to Hyderabad. But we want to ask him if Hyderabad is in India or in Lahore, Karachi or Peshawar. The pride of Marathis is known in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kandahar as well."
The party had earlier stirred controversy by saying that "If the Muslim community in India want any special treatment as Muslims, they should go to Pakistan."
"If they (Muslims) want anything from this country, they must first accept India as their motherland and proclaim 'Vande Mataram'. They cannot demand freedom and yet continue to cling to their religion," the party said in a sharp edit in 'Saamana.
(With agency inputs)