Shiv Sena today came out in strong support of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi saying it believes that the nation's leadership should be in the hands of a Hindutva leader.
"We welcome Modi's stand. It was our strong belief from the time of Balasaheb Thackarey that the nation's leadership should be in the hands of a Hindutva leader. Modi's stand will benefit NDA," party spokesperson Sanjay Raut, MP, said.
His remarks came close on the heels of Modi's interview to Reuters in which he described himself as a "Hindu nationalist".
"I am nationalist. I'm patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So I'm a Hindu nationalist. So yes, you can say I'm a Hindu nationalist because I'm a born Hindu," he said.
Raut said that Modi's remarks were praiseworthy as it was considered an "offence" earlier to proclaim oneself a Hindu till Thackarey declared himself a Hindu unapologetically.
Accusing the Congress of practising the politics of appeasement, he said that the leadership of the country should always be with a Hindu, who have always remained "neglected".
Claiming that Hindutva was "another name of nationalism", Raut said that proponents of Hindutva are not against any religion.
Shiv Sena is the oldest ideological ally of the BJP which has shared power with it in Maharashtra and at the Centre around a decade ago.