Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday faced more flak across the political spectrum for blaming 'migrants' for malaria outbreak in Mumbai with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying the remarks were uncalled for and deplorable.
Senior Congress leader and Union Minister of State for Communications and IT Gurudas Kamat condemned as unfortunate the remarks by the president of MNS and said his attempts to malign a particular section of people and create tensions should be nipped in the bud.
Malaria has reportedly claimed 40 lives in Mumbai since January including 19 in the month of July triggering a war of words in the western metropolis as to who was responsible for the spurt in malaria cases in the country's financial capital.
"Thackeray(Raj) has no control over his language and statement...Thackeray has made such uncalled for and deplorable utterances at the behest of Congress," Kumar told mediapersons in Patna.
Stating that Mumbai was "not private property of Thackeray", Kumar said Mumbai had been built by contributions from people across the country.
"Mumbai pure desh ka hai (Mumbai is of the entire country) and not somebody's fiefdom," he said.
In a statement, Kamat, who represents Mumbai North West in Lok Sabha, said Raj Thackeray had no constructive suggestion to solve such problems but create tensions amongst the city's population representing all regions and speaking different languages staying peacefully in Mumbai.
"The repeated attempts at maligning Muslims or migrants has become a nuisance and needs to be nipped in the bud," he said.
Kamat said the MNS chief's family is a migrant family from Indore who came to settle in Mumbai. "He had no moral right to point a finger at other migrants staying peacefully and legally in the city with all the right given to them by the Constitution of India," he added.
Veteran playback singer Asha Bhosale, who posts interesting music and film trivia, meanwhile struck a different note on Twitter, commenting on the Malaria situation. "Mumbai: Machhar war is in full swing", Asha said on the microblogging site.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has already flayed Raj for being obsessed with north indian migrants while Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal dismissed as nonsense the MNS chief's take on the malaria situation.
Congress MP Priya Dutt also took on Raj and challenged him to scientifically prove his statement that migrants had caused an outbreak of malaria.
She described his comments as an attempt to make mockery of the whole issue. Referring to the outbreak of malaria, Raj said at a function on Sunday that the slums in Mumbai are filled with labourers from outside, who keep coming in without any rest and they are mainly responsible for the whole situation.