Shiv Sena on Monday sought to distance itself from a row over its workers allegedly asking Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui to pull out of a Ramleela show in his hometown in Uttar Pradesh. “I spoke to Nawazuddin Siddiqui ji to convey that the party does not endorse the reason because of which he was prevented from performing at the Ramleela in UP,” Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray said.
“The said person, an office-bearer or not, has not voiced the party’s policy and the party will not support such uncalled for actions,” he said. Siddiqui was in his hometown, Budhna, where he got in touch with the Ramleela committee and expressed his desire to perform at the event.
However, he was prevented from taking part in it by some men claiming to be Sena members hours before his performance. They reportedly said he is a Muslim and faces a criminal case.
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An FIR was later registered against Sena’s Muzaffarnagar chief Mukesh Sharma and 19 others for promoting enmity and mischief. Congress hit out at Sena over the incident, saying it has become a “party of cowards” under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray. Congress MLA Nitesh Rane said the Sena should expel its party workers instead of distancing itself from the incident.
“Sena has become a party of cowards under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray. There was a time when Balasaheb (Thackeray) used to proudly take blame for the wrongdoings of his party men,” Rane said.
He said the Sena cannot just “wash its hands off” for fear of losing votes in the upcoming civic polls in Mumbai. “Everybody knows the party’s anti-Muslim stand. And, if they are serious in saying they do not support such gimmicks of their leaders, they should immediately expel the accused,” said Nitesh, son of ex-Sena strongman and Congress leader Narayan Rane.