Slamming Congress president Sonia Gandhi's meeting with Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid to prevent split in secular votes, Shiv Sena today said it was akin to "fox and wolf" discussing non-violence and vegetarianism.
"Imam Bukhari and Sonia Gandhi held a meeting and it is said that they discussed that secular votes should not get split in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls...It is like fox and wolf coming together to talk non-violence and vegetarianism," Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"Finally Sonia Gandhi had to surrender before Imam Bukhari. This is the death of Congress. Now the Imam will issue a fatwa and appeal to the Muslims to vote for Congress to avoid division of secular votes. But who pays heed to the fatwas issued by Imams? Islam has no place for such fatwas," he said.
The Imams and Maulvis issue fatwas on trivial subjects like the colour of nail polish and lip-stick a woman should use. These fatwas have failed to improve the living standards of the Muslims, he said.
"There is poverty among Muslims due to illiteracy and lack of knowledge in the community. This has been going on for generations because the Mulla-Maulvis have confined the new generations within the walls of dargahs and madrassas," he said.
"So far, Imam Bukhari has never issued a fatwa to eliminate poverty and lack of knowledge," Thackeray said.
He said that after Emergency, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had also sought the help of the Imam of Jama Masjid. "Even then the Imam had issued a fatwa to vote for Congress. However, despite that Congress had lost the elections, which shows that the Muslims had completely ignored his decree," he said.
Earlier, Sena's ally BJP had accused Sonia of trying to polarise votes in the polls by holding a meeting with the Shahi Imam on Tuesday where she asked him to ensure secular votes were not split, a charge rubbished by the Congress president.
"Imams need to stay away from politics. When did the Muslims give them the right to decide the fate of the country on the basis of religious or communal factors," Uddhav asked.
"No matter how many fatwas the Imams issue, the nationalist Muslims will defy them for the well being of the country and will strongly pitch for the slogan of 'Jai Hind'," he said.
"If Imam Bukhari tells Muslims to vote for Congress, it is called secularism and if the Hindu leaders urge Hindus to vote for them, then it is called extremism. We are accused of violation of the model code of conduct.
"The politics to appease Muslims is not secular but extremist," he said, adding that parties such as Congress, NCP, SP, BSP and AAP are reaping its fruits.
Warning against playing divisive politics on religious lines, Uddhav said if such a practice continued, even the Hindu leaders will try to strengthen their vote bank on religious lines.
He also criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his statement that Muslims have the first claim on the resources of the country.