Recite Hanuman Chalisa at my home but won’t tolerate ‘dadagiri’: Uddhav Thackeray


Breaking his silence on the Hanuman Chalisa row that has seen a lawmaker couple being booked for sedition and BJP raising the Hindutva pitch, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said reciting the Chalisa at his home is not a problem but ‘dadgiri’ won’t be tolerated.

Thackeray, who heads Shiv Sena, launched a caustic attack on BJP without taking its name and claimed that those teaching him Hindutva were hiding in a “rat hole” when Babri Masjid was demolished.

“If you want to recite ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ at my home, do come. But approach with a proper method,” Thackeray said.

“But if you want to visit by ‘dadagiri’ (bullying), Balasaheb (the late Shiv Sena founder and his father) had taught us how to break that ‘dadagiri’,” he said at the launch of the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) at the BEST headquarters here.

Thackeray said Shiv Sena’s Hindutva is “Gadadhari”, a reference to Lord Hanuman who carries mace, while the Hindutva of opponents is “Ghantadhari” (bell-ringing).

Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana were arrested on Saturday after they gave a call for the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa outside Thackeray’s private residence ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai, which had triggered angry protests by Shiv Sainiks. The couple, now in jail, later withdrew their call, citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai for an event.

Police registered FIRs against them on charges of sedition and spreading enmity among other sections.

Earlier in the day, senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had said that if chanting Hanuman Chalisa is seditious then “every one of us here is ready to commit that crime”.

In a veiled attack, Thackeray questioned the contribution of the BJP towards Hindutva.

“Those who are teaching me Hindutva should ask themselves about their contribution to the cause of Hindutva. You were hiding in a rat hole when Babri (Masjid) was demolished (on December 6, 1992)”, Thackeray said.

He said the decision on the construction of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was not taken by your (BJP’s) government but it was the Supreme Court that paved the way for the same.

“For the construction of the Ram temple you spread your hand in front of people,” he said.

“Shiv Sena’s Hindutva is ‘Gadadhari’ whereas your Hindutva is ‘Ghantadhari’. What do you mean when you say Shiv Sena has abandoned Hindutva? Is Hindutva a ‘dhotar’ (a garment worn by men which is tied around the waist)?” Thackeray asked.

The Sena chief also said that he will address a public meeting soon to give a befitting reply to his detractors.