Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday endorsed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's comments on Hindutva and Hindu nation which had come in for criticism from several parties including the Congress.Manmohan Vaidya, chief of publicity of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, also issued a statement defending Bhagwat's remarks.Thackeray said Bhagwat's remark was a reiteration of the ideology of the late Bal Thackeray."I am in support of Bhagwat's comments. What's wrong if he says India is a Hindu nation? Balasaheb Thackeray used to say the same thing openly for a long time and it used to create controversies. Why should we change our stand on it now? Why should anybody be ashamed of it," Thackeray told media persons.He was responding to queries on Bhagwat's comments last Sunday that India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity.On Narendra Modi government's decision to call off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan after its envoy met Kashmiri separatists in New Delhi, Thackeray urged the government to handle the Pakistan issue seriously."We must deal with Pakistan in a stern manner... Any amount of negotiations we conduct with that country won't serve any purpose. They don't deserve to be our friends," he said.
Thackeray was interacting with media after senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Pratapsinh Mohite-Patil's son Dhavalsinh joined the Shiv Sena at a function.Defending Bhagwat's remark that Hindutva is the identity of the nation, Vaidya said in a statement that "Bharat and Hindutva were akin to the flow of the Ganga."He said Ganga assimilates Yamuna and many other rivers and "yet maintains its sanctity and harmonious nature and has been flowing since time immemorial.""The same was conveyed earlier by Rabindranath Tagore and S. Radhakrishnan too, which was reiterated by Mohan Bhagwat," Vaidya said.