In a veiled attack on BJP, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday claimed Eknath Shinde was pressured to go against the Uddhav Thackeray-led party and also alleged that at least two MLAs accompanying the minister in Surat were beaten up by the police and goons under the ”Operational Kamal”. Speaking on the political turmoil in view of Shinde going incommunicado and camping in Surat with some MLAs of Sena, Raut hinted at pressure from Central agencies and said he was aware of the ”compulsions” of Shinde that might have prompted him to rebel against the party. Raut also claimed that some of the MLAs were misled and ”kidnapped” to Gujarat. ‘ ‘Two of the MLAs (with Shinde), including Nitin Deshmukh, were beaten up last night. Deshmukh tried to run away but he was beaten up by the police and goondas under ‘Operational Kamal’ and suffered a heart attack. Some of the MLAs have told us that they were misled and taken to Gujarat,” he claimed.
Raut alleged that MLAs of Sena had received at least four to five calls from their colleagues who told them over the phone that they were misled and requested their rescue. ”At least four to five calls have been received by some MLAs of Sena. The caller MLAs said that they were being misled and kidnapped. They said that they were called for dinner in Thane (on Monday) and then taken away. Their family members have lodged police complaints about their husbands and fathers going missing,” Raut said. Raut said he too had received notices from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) but never buckled under pressure. ”But I will never quit Shiv Sena which is like my mother. I am aware of Shinde’s compulsions,” he added.
He claimed that 14 to 15 MLAs of the Sena are accompanying Shinde, while at least 30 MLAs attended the meeting with CM Thackeray in Mumbai on Tuesday. The Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs in the House.
Raut also justified the removal of Shinde as the group leader of the Sena in the Legislative Assembly, saying disciplinary action was required. Earlier in the day, Raut had said that communication has been established with Shinde ”who is not in Mumbai”.