Friday, May 20, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray under fire over 'U-turn' on varsity renaming

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray under fire over 'U-turn' on varsity renaming

PTI | May 20, 2011, 03.12pm IST

MUMBAI: Two days after he lambasted political opponents for
insinuating that he opposed renaming of Marathwada University after Dr
Babasaheb Ambedkar, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray is now in middle of
a contorversy, with a section of media terming it as his 'U-turn'.

"From 1994 to 2011, Thackeray has done a 180-degree turn on the
renaming issue," leading Marathi newspaper Loksatta claimed in its
lead story on Friday.

Marathi channel Star Majhaa aired a special programme last night,
highlighting the change of stance, apparently with an eye on Dalit
votes, in backdrop of his cosying up with new-found ally, Dalit leader
Ramdas Athawale.

"At a public meeting in Parbhani on February 21, 1994, Thackeray said
he will continue to oppose the varsity renaming till he is alive," the
newspaper said.

"Thackeray also said that Dalits were paying obeisance at the
university gate, thinking it was the Chaityabhoomi," it said.
Chaityabhoomi, in Dadar area, is where Ambedkar was cremated and lakhs
of his followers visit the memorial on his anniversary each year.

Rubbishing critics who questioned the contradiction of his alliance
with Athawale, whose party RPI has a large Dalit following in the
state, and also his old stance against the renaming, Thackeray had
said on May 16: "Let me make it clear once again. I never opposed
renaming of the university. I had suggested that the name Marathwada
University be retained and Ambedkar's name be added to it."

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