Shukla slams Sena's verbal attack; BCCI quiet

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Rajeev Shukla on Sunday ridiculed Shiv Sena's latest verbal attack on senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

Updated: November 23, 2009 18:00 IST
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New Delhi:

Congress Rajya Sabha MP and BCCI's Finance Committee chairman Rajeev Shukla on Sunday ridiculed Shiv Sena's latest verbal attack on senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar, saying the party was only harming its own image by criticising the revered cricketer.

After Sena chief Bal Thackeray criticised Tendulkar for saying that "Mumbai is for all Indians", his party's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut questioned the veteran batsman's contribution to Maharashtra in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamna'.

Comparing Tendulkar and fellow Mumbaikar Sunil Gavaskar, Raut said, "There has been no instance of Sachin extending a helping hand to other Marathi cricketers. Forget others, he did not even support Vinod Kambli."

"In contrast, Gavaskar when he captained India, had half the team drawn from Mumbai and Maharashtra. He gave Test caps to many Marathi players including Suru Naik and Zulphikar Parkar at least for one match," he said.

Shukla ridiculed the latest attack, saying, "Since Thackeray has restrained himself from writing anything against Sachin Tendulkar, his newspaper's editor Sanjay Raut, who is also my colleague in Rajya Sabha, has started."

"I think he should realise that by criticising Tendulkar, he is only harming his own party. Whatever he says against Tendulkar will reduce his party's votebank in Maharashtra because no Maharashtrian is liking what they are saying," he said.

"Drawing parallels between Gavaskar and Tendulkar or pitching him against Kambli or saying that he hasn't contributed anything to Maharashtra, I don't think anybody will subscribe to this kind of argument," Shukla added.

The BCCI, however, distanced itself from Shukla's comments and said the views expressed were his own.

"Mr Shashank Manohar, the President of the BCCI, has clarified that Mr Rajeev Shukla has reacted to the comments made by the Shiv Sena on Sachin Tendulkar, in his individual capacity, and not on behalf of the BCCI," Board secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.

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