The leader of Shiv Sena, Sanjay Raut, facing the Allied fury of Congress for his comment that Indira Gandhi met the underworld Don Karim Lala, withdrew his statement today saying that “our friends of Congress should not feel hurt.”
In an interview with the Lokmat Media group on Wednesday, Raut had said that Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala, a gift from the underworld active during the 1960s and 1970s in Mumbai. Several leaders of Congress demanded that the leader of Sena withdraw his words.
“Our friends in Congress do not need to feel hurt. If someone feels that my statement has damaged Indira Gandhi ji’s image or has hurt someone’s feelings, I withdraw my statement,” Raut said.
Karim Lala was involved in smuggling, narcotics, gambling and extortion for more than two decades in Mumbai. He died in 2002 at 90.
Raut had said yesterday: “There was a time when Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Sharad Shetty would decide who will be the Mumbai police commissioner and who will sit in Mantralaya (secretary of state). When Haji Mastan arrived in Mantralaya, the entire secretariat Come and see him. Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in southern Mumbai). “
Many in Congress were outraged.
“Indira Hee He was a true patriot who never compromised the national security of India. As former president of the Mumbai Congress, I demand that Sanjay Raut-Hee Withdraw your misinformed statement. Political leaders must show restraint before distorting the bequests of deceased prime ministers, “Mumbai congressional leader Milind Deora tweeted.
Indira ji was a true patriot who never compromised the national security of India.
Political leaders must show restraint before distorting the legacies of deceased prime ministers.
– Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) January 16, 2020
“It would be better if the poet of Shiv Sena continues to recite cheerful poetry from others to entertain Maharashtra. If he spreads against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he will have to repent,” another Maharashtra Congress leader, Sanjay Nirupam, tweeted.
In response, Raut launched a series of tweets to argue that he had always been respectful of the Gandhis, especially Indira Gandhi.
“The respect I have always shown towards Indira Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and the Gandhi family, despite being in opposition, nobody has done it. Whenever people have attacked Indira Gandhi, I have defended it,” he said.
I have never avoided praising Indira Gandhi as an iron lady who made decisions with an iron fist. Surprisingly, those who have no history of Indiraji are shouting above the voice. @AUThackeray@RahulGandhi@SATAVRAJEEV @ @
– Sanjay Raut (@ rautsanjay61) January 16, 2020
Alleging that his statements were being “crooked” by those who did not know the story, Shiv Sena member Rajya Sabha wrote: “I have never shied away from praising Indira Gandhi as an iron lady who made decisions with an iron fist. Surprisingly those I don’t know Indiraji’s story they are screaming at the top of the voice. “
Raut said that “many political people” used to meet Karim Lala, since times were different back then. “He was a leader of the Pathan community, he had come from Afghanistan. So, people used to meet him because of the problems facing the Pathan community,” he wrote on Twitter.
Sena and the Congress, ideologically incompatible, have been at odds more than once since they formed the government together with the PCN in Maharashtra in November. The Seine skipped an opposition meeting led by Congress on Monday to discuss the controversial citizenship law, saying it was not invited. Previously, Congress was upset when the Seine voted with the government led by BJP on the Citizenship Bill (amendment) in parliament.
The Seine also made an exception to Rahul Gandhi saying at a rally: “My name is not Rahul Savarkar. My name is Rahul Gandhi. I will never apologize for the truth.” Raut had criticized the Congressman for “insulting an Hindutva icon,” Veer Savarkar.