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Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray came up with an angry rejoinder Friday to activist Anna Hazare’s reaction to his Dussehra day comments on the anti-graft movement.

In a sharp statement this evening, the 85-year-old Thackeray warned Hazare to stop behaving in a “childish manner” and not to lock horns with the Shiv Sena.

“Yesterday, I had praised him saying he was doing his work honestly,” Thackeray said. “However, his net had torn and the big fish were escaping, but he should not get discouraged and carry on with his mission.”

At the party’s annual Dassehra rally at Shivaji Park Thursday night, while praising Hazare’s anti-corruption agitation, Thackeray made sarcastic remarks about 35,000 people being fed twice a day during his recent hunger strike in New Delhi and the “lavish hosting of guests and visitors” at the venue.

Retorting to the charges Friday afternoon, Hazare claimed in Ralegan Siddhi that it was because of his hunger strike in the past that three ministers of the former Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government had to resign from their posts.

“In view of his advanced age, Bal Thackeray talks anything,” Hazare said. “On three occasions in the past, he had withdrawn his statements against me. I have nothing personal against him.”

Thackeray said Friday that though he was growing old, Hazare at 74 was much junior to him in age. “This childish behaviour does not suit you,” he added.

“We cannot help if somebody has poisoned his ears, but we are not Gandhians and can also reply appropriately, so don’t try to get into ‘trouble’ with us,” Thackeray said.

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