Adding a new twist to the ongoing controversy over the relationship between politicians and gangsters, Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Thursday alleged that Devendra Fadnavis met an 'infamous underworld don' at his official residence Varsha while he was the chief minister.
Thorat's comment comes after Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut caused controversy saying that then PM Indira Gandhi had met gangster Karim Lala in Mumbai. Shiv Sena and Congress are partners in the state government and Fadnavis had used Raut's comment to take digs at the Maha Vikas Agadi alliance. Latching onto Raut's claim, Fadnavis wondered whether the Congress was "funded by Mumbai's underworld".
Hitting back at the BJP leader, Thorat tweeted: "Infamous underworld don met Devendra Fadnavis at Varsha when he was CM. He not only protected another criminal Munna Yadav but appointed him on government board. Fadnavis has no moral right to speak on this subject."
"Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis also should give up his habit of making a mountain of a mole. He should not try to insult Bharatratna late Indiraji Gandhi to make up for loss of face the BJP suffered for insulting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj," he has earlier said.
In a series of tweets, Thorat credited Indira Gandhi for breaking the back of underworld and tightening noose around gangsters like Karim Lala, Haji Mastan, Yusuf Patel and others.
Thorat also termed Raut's comment about Indira Gandhi meeting gangster Karim Lala as "wrong" and said such remarks will not be tolerated. The state revenue minister cautioned all leaders, including Raut, against making remarks criticising great leaders. During an interview to the Lokmat media group at its award function in Pune on Wednesday, Raut claimed that "Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)."
On Thursday, Raut withdrew his comment saying, "If someone feels my statement hurt Indira Gandhi's image, or someone's feelings, I take it back."
The BJP came under attack from the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress in Maharashtra over a book comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Shivaji Maharaj. The book is written by BJP leader Jay Bhagwan Goyal.
Live Scores & Results