Putting up a brave face after a cartoon in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ provoked a strong reaction from a section of Maratha community and led to attack on the newspaper’s office, its editor Sanjay Raut Wednesday said there was no reason for him to tender an apology.
Describing cartoonist Shrinivas Prabhudesai as “non-political and innocent”, Raut said Prabhudesai had already tendered apology for the cartoon which alluded to the silent marches being taken out by the Maratha community across the state.
Raut, a Rajya Sabha member, also denied media reports about Sena legislators from the Maratha community handing over resignation to the party leadership over the issue.
“The cartoon has not caused any kind of dent or electoral damage to the party. We are neither hurt nor have we suffered any loss. The Sena does not believe in caste and I do not see any reason for tendering an apology,” he said.
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“The Sena has seen many storms in its fifty years of existence and weathered them, we shall come out of this also,” he said, reiterating the party’s support for the silent marches of the Maratha community for demands such as reservation.
Without naming Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar and others who have lashed out at Sena over the controversial cartoon, Raut said, “Those who envy us and want to play politics are speaking against us.”
“During the days of Babri (demolition), 140 cases were filed against me, who is afraid of such cases? Sena does not believe in caste. Marathi is the only caste for us. There is a ploy to divide the Marathi community along caste lines,” he said.
Raut further said that Sena knew who were behind this caste politics and would soon expose them.
Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders were pulling the strings from behind the scenes, he alleged.
“The morchas (marches) are being taken out to target the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” he said.