In a veiled rebuff to Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party's ally Shiv Sena on Tuesday said he should remember that he was "no longer a leader of just Gujarat but of the entire country" and should stop worrying about Maharashtra, after he compared development in the two states at a rally in Mumbai.
"Here, the Shiv Sena is there, and it carries the saffron flag of Shivaji Maharaj," party president Uddhav Thackeray said in the editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana. "As far as Maharashtra is concerned, Modi should take it easy," it said.
"Modi said (at a rally in Mumbai on Sunday) that Maharashtra had 26 chief ministers so far but lagged in development compared to Gujarat which saw fewer chief ministers during the same period. Now there is some criticism that Modi should speak about Gujarat and not about Maharashtra," Uddhav said.
"The pace of development in Gujarat has increased under Modi's tenure as the chief minister but Maharashtra is ahead on development front," the Sena leader said.
Stating that the "anti-Congress roar of Modi is reflective of the public sentiments", Uddhav wished the BJP leader all the best in his endeavour to become the prime minister.
Referring to Modi's rally in Mumbai, Uddhav said, "The Gujarati community and ‘Hindutvavadi’ masses were enthusiastic because Modi was coming to Mumbai. In order to make this rally a huge success, lot of advertisements full of creativity claiming that Modi is going to make "maha-garjana" were seen everywhere in the financial capital.... Modi said 'Mumbai is second home to Gujaratis.' There are indeed a lot of Gujaratis in Mumbai, they do business and a big chunk of what they earn here goes in to development of Saurashtra, Kutch and Surat," Uddhav said.
"Despite so much lack of development in the state (Maharashtra), Modi said Maharashtra is still second home to Gujaratis. Gujaratis have earned lots of money. Modi also says that he will bring back black money. He will surely bring it back if he comes to power. Except for a few corrupt politicians, there are no Marathis in that list of black money holders," he said.
In another jibe, the editorial said, "Once Modi becomes the prime minister, he will bring back Dawood Ibrahim to India and will also solve Maharashtra's border issue with Karnataka."