Mumbai: In a snub to Union minister Sharad
Pawar, Balasaheb Thackeray today said the Shiv Sena would not
allow Australian cricketers to play in the IPL which starts
next month, a threat which the NCP supremo had wanted the Sena
chief to withdraw.
"We would not allow them to set foot on Indian soil," he
"Indians are being attacked in Australia. Therefore, I
have said that we would not allow Australian cricketers to
play in our country," Thackeray said addressing party workers
via video link in suburban Bandra today.
Shiv Sena has voiced opposition to Australian cricketers
playing in India in the wake of continued attacks on Indians
in Australia and threatened not to allow them in the country.
Against this backdrop, Pawar, who also heads the Mumbai
Cricket Association, along with BCCI chief Shashank Manohar
called on Thackeray on February seven to allow Australian
players to play in Indian Premier League(IPL) amid speculation
that the Agriculture minister was cosying up to the Sena
leader. The meeting had even left NCP ally and senior UPA
partner Congress fuming.
Thackeray had said he would announce his decision after
BCCI made a presentation on Australian cricketers. Pawar had
also tried to convince Thackeray that only one or two Aussie
players will be playing and they be allowed to participate.
Just days after his meeting with Thackeray, Pawar
firmly told the Shiv Sena not to impose its authority in the
backdrop of its protests against Shah Rukh Khan`s "My Name is
Khan" film. Pawar had also hailed Mumbaikars for defying
the Sena threat.
"There is an autonomous institution in this country
which decides which film is to be screened for public viewing
and with what cuts and in such a situation no one should
create his own authority for it", Pawar said last Friday.