Under fire for seeking disenfranchisement of Muslims in India and following division in his own party over his remarks, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut Tuesday backtracked, stating that his comments had been “misinterpreted” by the media and that taking away the voting rights of the minority community was unconstitutional.
“I have not written (in party mouthpiece Saamana) that the voting rights of Muslims should be taken away. I only said Muslims would not be used for political opportunism if they were not allowed to vote. It is wrong and unconstitutional to take away the voting rights of Muslims,” Raut told reporters in Aurangabad.
“I did not say Muslims should be deprived of their voting rights. The media wanted some news for the day and they misrepresented my statement,” he added.
Raut’s write-up in the Sunday edition of Saamana, had triggered a storm. “Vote bank politics is being played in the name of fighting the injustice meted out to Muslims. This politics was once played by Congress but now by every other person calls himself secular. If Muslims are only being used this way to play politics, they can never develop. Muslims will have no future as long as they are used to play vote bank politics and thus Balasaheb (Sena founder Balasaheb Thakre) had once suggested withdrawal of Muslims’ voting rights. What he said was right,” Raut had argued in a signed editorial.