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24 Jul 2018

Sena: Cows safer than women

TT, New Delhi: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said on Monday that cows were safer than women in the country, taking a dig at the BJP-led central government over the growing incidents of lynching by cow vigilantes.
"In this country, cows are safe but women are not. In the name of saving the cow, if you are shifting focus to whether someone is eating beef or not, then it is a shame. This is not Hindutva," he said.
"We are a part of the government (at the Centre and in Maharashtra) but if something is wrong, we will definitely talk about it. We are friends of the Bharatiya Janata (Indian people), not of any party," he added, playing on ally Bharatiya Janata Party's name.
Uddhav's comments came in a three-part interview to party mouthpiece Saamana, which the Sena had said would generate "one hundred headlines" and whose first part was released on Monday.
Uddhav defended the Sena's decision to stay away from the no-confidence proceedings on Friday instead of supporting the Narendra Modi government, of which it is a part.
"I am fighting for the common man's dream and not Modi's," he said. "Whatever I have done, I have done openly. I supported openly and now I am opposing openly."
Uddhav also criticised the BJP's idea of Hindutva. "I do not accept the idea of Hindutva being spread in the country for the last three-four years. We (the Sena) never said cows should be slaughtered. But while protecting cows, India has become the most unsafe country for women," he said.
"One should be ashamed of it. You want to save the gaumata (the cow projected as the mother) but what about the mata (mother)?"
Uddhav said the BJP had no right to decide who was a nationalist and who was "anti-national". "Anyone criticising the government does not become anti-national. Members of Parliament are representatives of the people and have the right to ask questions."
Uddhav said his party had opposed only those decisions of the government that appeared not to be protecting the interests of the poor.
"I criticise the government if it is taking any wrong steps. I cannot take the appeasement route to woo them (the BJP)," he said.
"The previous (UPA) government was defeated by the people and there were big expectations from this NDA government. But this government is also functioning like the previous one."
Uddhav's comments come a day after BJP president Amit Shah asked his party's Maharashtra unit to remain prepared for fighting the Lok Sabha polls alone. Although the BJP has avoided retaliating to the Sena's attacks, the general feeling within the party is that the alliance is all but over.
The two parties had contested the 2014 general election in alliance but fought the Maharashtra Assembly elections separately later that year. With the BJP outstripping the Sena for the first time in the state, the seeds of acrimony were sown.

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