Terming Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut‘s comment about Indira Gandhi meeting gangster Karim Lala as “wrong”, Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Thursday said such remarks will not be tolerated, and conveyed their disappointment to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Also Read - 'Boycott Chhapaak': Shiv Sena Slams Campaign, 'Reflects Talibani Mindset,' Says Sanjay Raut
The state revenue minister cautioned all leaders, including Raut, against making remarks criticising great leaders. Also Read - Maharashtra Cabinet Expansion: Shiv Sena Leader Sanjay Raut Calls For 'Patience'
“It, indeed, was a wrong statement and we will not tolerate such a statement. Nobody should make such a statement. Raut should also not make such a statement which criticises great men,” Thorat told reporters here.
“We are disappointed with the statement. We have spoken to the chief minister on the issue,” he added.
During an interview to the Lokmat media group at its award function in Pune on Wednesday, Raut claimed that “Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai).”
On Thursday, Raut withdrew his comment saying, “If someone feels my statement hurt Indira Gandhi’s image, or someone’s feelings, I take it back.”
In a series of tweets, Thorat credited Indira Gandhi for breaking the back of underworld and tightening noose around gangsters like Karim Lala, Haji Mastan, Yusuf Patel and others.
Earlier in the day, Congress leaders Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam asked Raut to withdraw his “ill-informed” remarks.
Former Union minister Deora said politicians should refrain from “distorting” legacies of prime ministers who are no more.
Former Mumbai Congress chief Nirupam said Raut will “repent” if he continues a “false campaign” against Gandhi.
Latching onto Raut’s claim, BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis wondered whether the Congress was “funded by Mumbai’s underworld”.
Hitting back at Fadnavis, Thorat said Maharashtra has seen pictures of Fadnavis meeting a notorious goon at ‘Varsha’ (CM’s official bungalow in Mumbai) while the latter was the chief minister.
“Fadnavis who protected a goon like Munna Yadav by appointing him on corporation should not talk about criminalisation in politics,” Thorat said in a tweet.
“Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis also should give up his habit of making a mountain of a mole. He should not try to insult Bharatratna late Indiraji Gandhi to make up for loss of face the BJP suffered for insulting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” he said.
The BJP came under attack from the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress in Maharashtra over a book comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Shivaji Maharaj.
The book is written by BJP leader Jay Bhagwan Goyal.