Mumbai: Launching an attack on ally BJP, the Shiv Sena has questioned the day of announcement of death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on August 16 and has linked it to PM Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech on August 15.
In an editorial in Shiv Sena's mouthpiece Saamana, Sanjay Raut has questions wondering whether the news of Vajpayee's death was kept on hold on account of PM Modi's speech. Raut, however, has not explained the reason for his doubts.
"Rather than our people, our rulers should first understand what is 'swarajya' (self-rule). Vajpayee died on August 16, but from 12-13 August, his condition was deteriorating. To avoid national mourning and lowering of flag to half-mast on Independence Day, and also (as) Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to make his elaborate speech from the Red Fort, Vajpayee left this world on August 16 (or his death was announced)," Mr Raut said in an article in Marathi titled "What is Swarajya?".
Vajpayee died at the age of 93 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which also declared a time of death on August 16.
BJP is Shiv Sena's alliance partner at the Centre and in Maharashtra. But the Shiv Sena has been targeting BJP and has even announced that it will contest the 2019 national election on its own.
In his article, Raut also accused the Modi government of "shielding" those who had heckled National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar for shouting "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Jai Hind" at a condolence meeting for Vajpayee.
"This new kind of freedom has now emerged," the Sena MP said.
He also scoffed at reports of terror plots in the run-up to Independence Day.
"When it is learnt that police have captured terrorists who had planned to carry out attacks in Delhi, it tells you that Independence Day is nearing," Raut said.
He also criticised PM Modi for his foreign tours. "It is true that welfare schemes are run on the tax which honest people pay. It is also true that Prime Minister's foreign tours are funded by the same money, and thousands of crores are spent on advertisements from the same money. This is how the new 'Swarajya' is functioning," the Sena leader wrote.