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No BJP leader defended Gadkari: Bal Thackeray

Posted on Nov 07, 09:15PM | IBNS

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.