No BJP leader defended Gadkari: Bal Thackeray
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Wednesday slammed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari's comments on spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and said 'not a single leader' of the party defended him.
In an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamna' published Tuesday, Thackeray said: "Gadkari has clarified that he did not equate Swami Vivekananda with Dawood. However, not a single leader of the party defended him."
Comparing Gadkari's comment to senior BJP leader LK Advani's remarks on Pakistan's founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah in 2005, he said: "Advani had lost ground due to his remarks on Jinnah and Gadkari has been jolted because of his comments on Swami Vivekananda."
Back in 2005, Advani had landed himself into a controversy by describing Jinnah as a secular leader.
Pertinently, the Shiv Sena is a key partner of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Gadkari on Tuesday expressed 'sincere regret' for comparing Swami Vivekananda's intelligence quotient (IQ) to that of Dawood Ibrahim's.
"Swami Vivekananda has always been a source of inspiration for all of us in the BJP. My personal reverence for Swami Vivekananda is second to none. In that context I had referred to Swami Vivekananda dedicating his intellect for the welfare of humanity," Gadkari said in a press statement.
"I am deeply pained to note that my words have been taken out of context to create confusion," he said.
"I would like to reiterate that I never compared Swami Vivekananda with anyone. I had absolutely no intention to project Swami Vivekananda in bad light. If my words about Swami Vivekananda have hurt the public sentiments in any manner, I express my sincere regrets," Gadkari said.