Mumbai: Maharashtra Congress leader and youngest son of Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane, Nitesh, sparked off a controversy when he took to Twitter to launch an attack on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarati community living in Mumbai. "Veg skies, Veg hospitals, Veg housing societies..soon Veg Mumbai! Either Gujjus go back to Gujarat or they turn Mumbai into Gujarat...Red alert (sic)," Rane had tweeted on Wednesday.
He has even gone on to say that if Modi is such an excellent leader then Gujaratis should go back to the state. "Modi shud take al the gujjus bck frm Mumbai including Big B so Marathi manus can flourish and buy houses whether is no discrimination on food (sic)," Rane had tweeted.
Rane's statement has been slammed by Gujarat government spokesman Jay Narayan Vyas, who has termed the comment on Gujaratis a reflection of the present state of the UPA government. "The frustration of goofing up by the UPA government in the Congress is so widespread that a slip of tongue by them is an order of the day," he said.
Vyas has also questioned the statements by Rane to be a defiance of the orders by Rahul Gandhi and the Congress High Command over refraining to comment on Modi. "Does this mean that Rane wants to say that no matter what the orders are, I will speak or has the Congress put these words in his mouth and are now trying to wriggle out of the situation," he said.
He has demanded a clarification from the Congress party on Rane's statement. "I think Congress should come out and clarify the comment," he said.
Refusing to retract his statement, Rane said he is not indulging into divisive politics. "It's a political stance which I have mentioned over and over in my tweets clearly questioning Gujarat development model which the CM has been claiming to be a success. It is a political stance, I am not targeting any particular community," he said.
He also questioned the success of the Gujarat model by saying that, "if Gujarat is really so developed then why don't they feel like going back". Justifying his tweet, Rane said he has the right to question the CM as a citizen of the country and as a citizen of Maharashtra.
Reacting to Rane's comments, Maharashtra Home minister RR Patil has said that his comments will be investigated. "The comments are not right and we will investigate if there is anything illegal," he said.
Rane's statements came after Rahul Gandhi reportedly told the Congress spokespersons that only designated people should speak on Modi and that the party leaders should refrain from speaking on Modi out of turn.