Shiv Sena’s ties with BJP are indeed frosty despite claims of all being well between the two parties. After keeping Devendra Fadnavis waiting for days over whether it will join the Maharashtra government or not, which it eventually did after a long drama, it has now pressed another demand to the Centre.
It has now demanded the removal of two vital words ‘Secular’ and ‘Socialist’ from the Indian Constitution. The latest demand came after controversy erupted over a Republic Day advertisement issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, carrying a picture of the Preamble of the Constitution as it appeared before the 42nd Amendment, without the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’.
Creating a stir over it, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “If printing old Preamble is by mistake then it should happen regularly. India was never a secular country. It is a Hindu rashtra.”
“These words were never there in the Preamble. Government should remove these words from the Preamble now,” the senior Sena leader demanded in Mumbai, thereby sending the NDA led- government struggling for answers and do some damage control.
Meanwhile, the issue had snowballed into a major row with Congress leader and former Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari attacking the Centre on the issue, claiming the government advertisement “deleted” the two words, which was only a prelude to their “substitution” with “communal” and “corporate”. “Constitution-India Sovereign Secular Socialist Democratic Republic. Government Ad deletes Secular and Socialist Prelude to substitution with Communal and Corporate,” Tewari alleged in a post on Twitter.
It remains to be seen whether the BJP led NDA gives in to their ally in Maharashtra and meet their demand. The Sena’s repeated theatrics has often embarrassed the BJP and it is bound to give more ammunition to the opposition ahead of the Budget session of parliament which begins on February 23.