Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday said his comments on Indira Gandhi were "twisted" by those unaware of Mumbai's history, as he meant that the former prime minister met gangster Karim Lala here in his capacity as representative of the Pathan community.
During an interview to the Lokmat media group at its award function in Pune on Wednesday, Raut claimed that "Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)."
Karim Lala was one of the three top underworld dons of Mumbai for over two decades, from the sixties to the early eighties, the other two being Mastan Mirza alias Haji Mastan and Varadarajan Mudaliar.
After Congress leaders Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam criticised Raut and asked him to withdraw his "ill-informed" remarks, the Sena leader defended his words, saying he never shied away from praising former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
"Kareem Lala was leader of Pathan community, he led an organisation called 'Pakhtun-e-Hind'. It was in this capacity of the leader of Pathan community that he met several top leaders including Indira Gandhi. However, those who do not (know) the history of Mumbai, r twisting my statement," Raut said in a tweet.
"I have never shied away from praising Indira Gandhi as an iron lady who took decisions with iron fist. Surprisingly those who do not (know) history of Indiraji are shouting on top of the voice," the Rajya Sabha member said in another tweet while tagging it to Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray, and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Rajeev Satav.
Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray met Rahul Gandhi at his residence in New Delhi on Wednesday, two days after the Sena skipped a crucial opposition meet in Parliament complex.
The Shiv Sena termed it as a routine meeting between the two leaders.