Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut has kicked up a controversy by making controversial statements about former prime minister Indira Gandhi, saying she used to meet yesteryear don Karim Lala.
Several Congress leaders condemned the statement and demanded that Raut should withdraw his remarks.
At a programme at Pune on Wednesday, Raut had remarked that Gandhi used to meet Lala, an underworld figure in Mumbai. He was talking about the bonhomie between politicians and the criminals.
“There was a time when Chhota Shakeel, Dawood Ibrahim, Sharad Shetty used to decide who would be police commissioner of Mumbai and who would sit in Mantralaya. Indira Gandhi used to go and meet Karim lala in South Mumbai,” Raut said on Wednesday.
“Indira ji was a true patriot who never compromised on India’s national security. As former @INCMumbai President, I demand that @rautsanjay61 ji withdraws his ill-informed statement. Political leaders must show restraint before distorting the legacies of deceased Prime Ministers,” former Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora said on Twitter.
Indira ji was a true patriot who never compromised on India’s national security.
Political leaders must show restraint before distorting the legacies of deceased Prime Ministers
— Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) January 16, 2020
Congress leadership in the state has reportedly expressed unhappiness to the Shiv Sena leadership. Sena leadership has been told to ask Raut to withdraw the statement.
Raut, meanwhile, clarified on Thursday that he has all respect for the former prime minister and his remarks were distorted.
“Kareem Lala was leader of Pathan community, he led an organisation called ‘Pakhtun-e-Hind’. It was in this capacity of the leader of Pathan community that he met several top leaders including Indira Gandhi. However, those who do not know the history of Mumbai, are twisting my statement. I have never shied away from praising Indira Gandhi as an iron lady who took decisions with iron fist. Surprisingly, those who do not history of Indiraji are shouting on top of the voice (sic),” Raut tweeted by tagging Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Rajeev Satav.
Kareem Lala was leader of Pathan community, he led an organisation called ‘Pakhtun-e-Hind’. It was in this capacity of the leader of Pathan community that he met several top leaders including Indira Gandhi
However, those who do not the history of Mumbai, r twisting my statement
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) January 16, 2020
Congress shares power with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The three-party Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government led by Sena chief and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was formed in November after Sena assured Congress to dilute its policies on Hindutva and anti-Congress stand.