After facing backlash from Maharashtra coalition partner Congress, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has retracted his statement where he claimed that former PM Indira Gandhi had links with underworld dons of Mumbai. The outspoken Sena leader came under fire from Congress leaders like Sanjay Nirupam, Milind Deora and Abhishek Singhvi over his controversial remark made on Wednesday. The Sena, NCP and Congress have allied as the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition to govern Maharashtra.
"Our friends in Congress need not be offended by this. I have defended Indira Gandhi many times when she was attacked while Congress kept mute. If someone thinks that my statement would dent the stature of Indira Ji or hurt the sentiment of someone, then I retract my statement," Raut told reporters in Mumbai.
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. @AUThackeray@RahulGandhi@SATAVRAJEEV @— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) January 16, 2020
What remark did Raut make?
Talking about the past influence of the underworld over Mumbai, Sanjay Raut claimed that the underworld decided who will be the city's commissioner and in the state secretariat. Moreover, he claimed that the entire secretariat would meet don Haji Mastan when he was in town.
"They (underworld) used to decide who will be Mumbai's police commissioner and who will sit in Mantralaya (state secretariat)," Raut said. He added, "When (underworld don) Haji Mastan came to Mantralaya, the entire secretariat would come down to see him. Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)".
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam's response
Rebutting Sanjay Raut's claim on Indira Gandhi, former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, on Thursday tweeted that "Sena's poet should stick to entertaining Maharashtra". Nirupam, who is an ex-Sena MP, said that defaming former PM Indira Gandhi would make the Sena cost later. He also demanded that Raut take back his comments on former PM Indira Gandhi meeting underworld don Karim Lala.
बेहतर होगा कि शिवसेना के मि.शायर दूसरों की हल्की-फुल्की शायरी सुनाकर महाराष्ट्र का मनोरंजन करते रहें।— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) January 16, 2020
पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री इंदिरा गांधी जी के खिलाफ दुष्प्रचार करेंगे तो उन्हें पछताना पड़ेगा।
कल उन्होंने इदिराजी के बारे में जो बयान दिया है वो वापस ले लें।
Deora, Singhvi irked
Hitting out at Sanjay Raut, Congress leaders Milind Deora and Abhishek Manu Singhvi slammed Raut for his "deplorable comments" asking him to "withdraw his ill-informed statement" against Indira Gandhi. Both senior leaders took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction.
#SanjayRaut linking Indira Gandhi with the underworld with a straight face is deplorable. How does he make such comments without doing saamna with the rich history of his own party?— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) January 16, 2020
Indira ji was a true patriot who never compromised on India’s national security.— Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) January 16, 2020
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