Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday took a jibe at opposition Maha Vikas Agadhi's (MVA) protest in Mumbai calling it a "nano" morcha for gaining political capital.
In a show of strength, MVA constituents including Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP, Congress, and other parties took out a protest march against the Eknath Shinde-BJP government demanding the removal of state Governor B S Koshyari for passing "insulting" remarks against iconic personalities, including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Amid the row, Fadnavis said he has been repeatedly saying no one should speak against national icons and that those who do so are wrong.
"Despite making my stand clear, a morcha was organised for gaining political capital. When you run out of issues, such morchas are organised,'' he told reporters and added Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and B R Ambedkar are our idols.
A political firestorm erupted after governor Koshyari had called Chhatrapati Shivaji an "icon of olden times".
Senior BJP leader and state minister Chandrakant Patil had kicked up a row by saying social reformers B R Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule had "begged" (sought donations) to start schools.
Referring to a border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka, Fadnavis said it is not something new which cropped up after the formation of the Shinde-BJP government (in July this year).
"The Congress and the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) are responsible for this problem. The issue is the creation of the Congress party," he alleged.
The border issue dates back to 1957 after the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines.
Responding to a query, Fadnavis said no one can take Mumbai away from Maharashtra.
"(Shiv Sena chief) Uddhav Thackeray should look for new issues to play politics," he said.
Speaking about the MVA's protest march, Fadnavis, who holds the Home portfolio, said the police had asked the MVA to use the Azad Maidan in south Mumbai for the rally but they didn't follow the direction knowing that the ground couldn't be filled.
"It was a nano morcha for political capital," he said implying a poor turnout.
Targeting Rahul Gandhi over his purported remarks on Indian soldiers, Fadnavis said it is surprising that Pakistan and Rahul Gandhi speak against India on the same day.
"His (Rahul's) remarks show the kind of sentiment he has for India,'' Fadnavis added.
"Whenever China grabbed Indian territory, the Gandhi family was in power. Today, PM Modi is in power and not an inch of land will go to anybody else. Our Army faced the Chinese bravely,'' he added.
-With PTI Input