Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Monday criticised Sachin Tendulkar for his "Mumbai for all" remark, saying there was no need for the cricket icon to take a "cheeky single" and hurting the Marathi psyche by moving to the pitch of politics.
"There was no need for him to take a cheeky single by making such remarks," Sena mouthpiece Saamna quoted Thackeray as saying.
"By making these remarks, you have got run-out on the pitch of Marathi psyche. You were not even born when the 'Marathi Manoos' got Mumbai and 105 Marathi people sacrificed their lives to get Mumbai," he said.
Thackeray expressed displeasure that Sachin "left the crease" and moved to the pitch of politics by making these remarks, which have hurt Marathi sentiment.
In a rebuff to the 'Marathi Manoos' plank of the Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Tendulkar had said on Friday that Mumbai is for all Indians.
"Mumbai belongs to India. That is how I look at it. And I am a Maharashtrian and I am extremely proud of that, but I am an Indian first," said Tendulkar
The Shiv Sena and the MNS have often played the 'Marathi Manoos' card in a bid to attract votes. Raj Thackeray's fledgling party had even unleashed an anti-north Indian campaign inviting criticism.
To this, BCCI Spokesperson Rajiv Shukla said in New Delhi, "This is the same language that Mohammed Ali Jinnah spoke. The whole of India and all Maharashtrians excluding a few Shiv Sena leaders and leaders of Raj Thackeray's party are with Tendulkar".
"These kind of comments are completely uncalled for. Shiv Sena activists have no business to talk like this. Tendulkar is a nationalist. He is for Maharashtra, he is for India. If somebody calls himself an Indian, is it a crime?" he retorted.
In an interaction with the media on completing 20 years in international cricket, Tendulkar had said, "I am a Maharashtrian and I am extremely proud of that. But I am an Indian first. And Mumbai belongs to all Indians."
"No Marathi will support Shiv Sena if they talk in these terms. Tendulkar has spoken like an Indian, like a nationalist. They don't understand this. In order to get some votes, they are trying to provoke feelings. These people should be brought to book," Shukla added.
"Maharashtrians don't like such utterances. Only a handful of people will support this. Majority of them won't like this. They want to be called Indians first.
"The whole of India and all Maharashtrians, excluding a few Shiv Sena leaders and leaders of Raj Thackeray's party, are with Tendulkar," he added.
Sanjay Raut, executive editor of Saamna, and another Shiv Sena functionary Rahul Navlekar said Tendulkar should have taken into account the sentiments of Maharashtrians before making such remarks".