Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday dubbed the decision as “dirty politics” and asked all political parties to be wary of a similar fate. Union home minister Amit Shah targeted Uddhav at a rally, saying he “surrendered” at the feet of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Earlier in the day, senior leader of the party Sanjay Raut alleged that “deals worth Rs 2,000 crore” have been struck to “purchase” the Shiv Sena party name as well as its “bow and arrow” poll symbol. The BJP and Shinde’s camp retaliated strongly to the charges with Maharashtra legislator Sada Sarvankar asking whether Sanjay Raut was the “cashier”.
Here’s a look at the war of words …
Raut vs BJP-Team Shinde
Taking a dig at the ruling BJP-Sena government in Maharashtra, Sanjay Raut said a “deal of Rs 2000 crore” has taken place so far to “purchase” the Shiv Sena party name and its symbol
Alleging that the MLAs who defected were offered Rs 50 crore each, Raut said his claim was backed by proof which he would disclose soon.
“I believe… deals and transactions worth Rs. 2,000 crores have been done so far to get the election symbol and name … This is a preliminary figure and 100% true … Soon many things will be revealed. This has never happened in the history of the country,” Raut tweeted in Hindi.
“2000 crore deal behind Uddhav Thackeray losing Shiv Sena symbol”: Sanjay Raut
He also told reporters that a builder close to the ruling dispensation had shared this information with him.
Hitting out at Raut’s “Rs 2,000 crore” deal charge, legislator Sarvankar from the camp led by Shinde dismissed the claim and asked, “Is Sanjay Raut a cashier?”
Maharashtra minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sudhir Mungantiwar also hit back at Raut saying such baseless comments were an attempt to malign independent institutions like the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India.
People will teach a lesson to those who make such comments which disrespect democracy, he said.
“Hope better sense prevails,” he added.
Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar claimed people making such comments have “either lost senses or gone mad.”
Uddhav Thackeray vs Amit Shah
Later in the day, former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray lashed out at his party’s former ally BJP and warned other outfits of a similar fate if they don’t remain cautious.
“What has happened to Shiv Sena, how we have been treated, can happen to you too. All parties should keep their eyes open and be cautious,” Thackeray said.
Targeting the BJP, he said: “You want my father’s face, but not his son. I was ready to come along. If you ditch me when I wanted to implement a promise given to my father, what should I do?”
“I never wanted to be a chief minister, but was asked by Congress and NCP to take over because otherwise a government could not have been formed. Had BJP honoured the commitment given, both Shiv Sena and BJP would have got their chief ministers for two-and-a-half years each,” he said.
Some people from my party defected. Those who want to leave can go, but they should merge with another party. However, they want to throw me out of my house and take it over, he alleged.
My father groomed these people and Shiv Sainiks supported them. But now they want to become owners and our institutions are such that they have made a thief the owner of the house. What is happening in the country, he asked.
But what has happened is good because people are angry and realised what has happened is wrong, Thackeray added.
Taking a jibe at Union home minister Amit Shah, Thackeray said, “‘Mogambo khush hua’ on the Election Commission order.”
Thackeray said the BJP pushed him towards joining hands with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) as it dishonoured a commitment given.
Meanwhile, home minister Amit Shah lashed out at Thackeray for “surrendering at the feet of (Nationalist Party Congress chief) Sharad Pawar” to become chief minister.
Thackeray had broken the alliance with BJP after the 2019 assembly poll results were declared claiming the latter had reneged on its promise to share the chief ministerial tenure with the Shiv Sena.
He teamed up with the NCP and Congress and led the Maha Vikas Aghadi, till a rebellion by Eknath Shinde brought it down in June last year.
“In 2019, the BJP and its allies won 42 out of 48 seats. This time, we should win all 48 seats,” Shah told his party workers.
Attacking Thackeray, Shah said, “Hinduhriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena was surrendered at the feet of Sharad Pawar. (Thackeray) contested Assembly elections with us with the largest cut-outs being that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But after the results were out, he (Thackeray) surrendered at the feet of Pawar.”
Fadnavis mocks Uddhav
Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also took a dig at Uddhav, quipping that his party has been decimated in its two-and-half-year alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress.
“Uddhav Thackeray claimed the Shiv Sena had rotted during its 25-year alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party, while it has been decimated in its two-and-half-year alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress,” Fadnavis said.
Speaking at a ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rally in Kolhapur in the presence of Shah, he said the “traitors” had been taught a lesson and shown their place six months ago, apparently a reference to the split in the Shiv Sena, which brought down the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Taking a swipe at Thackeray, the deputy CM said, “Those who said they rotted in the 25-year alliance with the BJP have now seen their party finished in two-and-half years after joining hands with the NCP, Congress (to form the Maha Vikas Aghdi post the 2019 Assembly poll results). They have been brought to the streets.”
‘Won’t get involved in row’
Meanwhile, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said he has clarified his stand on the Election Commission’s decision to recognise Eknath Shinde-led faction as the real ‘Shiv Sena’ and allocation of the ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol to it, and will not get involved in the controversy over it.
Pawar on Friday said said the loss of `bow and arrow’ will not make any difference to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction as people will accept its new poll symbol.
To a query from reporters over the issue on Sunday, the NCP chief, who was in Pune’s Baramati town, said, “I do not want to get involved in the controversy regarding the name and symbol given to Eknath Shinde. I have already clarified my stand on the same two days back.”
(With inputs from agencies)