The Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena on Monday took a dig at party president Uddhav Thackeray questioning how many times he had visited the office of Maharashtra chief minister when he was in power and whether he gave time to the party workers.
Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson for the Eknath Shinde faction, said Thackeray’s ”public appearances” have increased now, referring to the party outreach programs launched by the Sena president after the collapse of his government last month. A day earlier, Thackeray inaugurated a ward-level Shiv Sena office in south Mumbai and addressed party workers. “We have raised three questions and we have not yet received answers. As the chief minister (November 2019-June 2022), how many times did Uddhav Thackeray go to his (chief minister’s) office in Mantralaya and met Sena workers? Now, the frequency of his public appearance has increased,” Kesarkar told reporters. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had often criticized the ‘absence’ of Uddhav Thackeray in the CM’s office during the COVID-19 pandemic. A rebellion led by Shiv Sena veteran Eknath Shinde and 39 MLAs led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government last month. Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister on June 30 with Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP as deputy CM. Kesarkar also sought Thackeray’s reply on the claims made by rebel Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale that it was finalized in 2021 that Shiv Sena will join hands with former ally BJP while it was still ruling the state in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress. “We also asked Thackeray about the details of the claims made by Sena rebel MP Rahul Shewale that it was finalized in 2021 itself to join hands with the BJP. If it was true then why these 12 MLAs were suspended and the deal called off,” he asked.
During the Maharashtra Assembly’s monsoon session last year, 12 MLAs of the BJP were suspended for one year for allegedly misbehaving with the presiding officer in the Assembly Speaker’s chamber.
The Supreme Court later observed that the suspension of these MLAs for one year is prima facie unconstitutional. Kesarkar said Maharashtra needs peace for progress. He said there is no point in organizing rallies against leaders of the Shinde camp and trying to pressure them.
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“In the last two-and-a-half years (when MVA was in power) maximum time was spent on criticizing the Union government. How can one achieve development if you do not keep good relations with the Central government?” he asked without taking the name of Sena MP Sanjay Raut who is a vocal critic of the Centre.