BJP leaders stage protest

Mumbai: Shiv Sena (UBT) on Saturday alleged that senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, who was earlier the chief minister of Maharashtra, has become intolerant and arrogant ever since he was made deputy CM, triggering sharp reactions from the saffron party.
Fadnavis was a tolerant person earlier, but his frustration after being made the deputy chief minister resulted in him becoming intolerant and arrogant, the party claimed in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, objected to the language used in the editorial piece in the Marathi daily, whose editor is Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, while the executive editor is party’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said one should maintain decorum while criticising political opponents. He also warned of filing a complaint against ‘Saamana’, and said its “vitriol” needs to stop. BJP’s youth wing and a few party leaders held a protest in the evening.
Fadnavis was the chief minister of the state between 2014 and 2019 when the BJP and Shiv Sena (undivided) shared power. After the 2019 assembly elections, the two parties parted ways over sharing the chief minister’s post. Thackeray later joined hands with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
The Thackeray-led dispensation, however, collapsed in June 2022 after his senior party leader Eknath Shinde rebelled along with 39 other MLAs and joined hands with the BJP. Shinde became the chief minister, while Fadnavis was made his deputy.
Last month, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar and his party MLAs also joined the Shinde government with Pawar being made the deputy CM.
The editorial said, “Devendra Fadnavis would have returned to power (post-2019 assembly elections) had he not betrayed the Shiv Sena. However, his party’s top leaders in Delhi sidelined him and made him deputy chief minister.”.
“Fadnavis was a tolerant person earlier, but his frustration after being made the deputy CM resulted in him becoming intolerant and arrogant…They made him share the deputy chief minister’s post with Ajit Pawar, adding to his woes,” it said.
“It was Fadnavis who once said that he would send Ajit Pawar to jail and ensure that he would get rigorous imprisonment. But what is Fadnavis doing exactly now by sharing power with the same Ajit Pawar?” the party asked.
It also said that those having serious corruption charges and facing allegations of assault against women are now the colleagues of Fadnavis, it said adding that he should take care of himself.
Bawankule hit out at Sena (UBT) over the editorial targeting Fadnavis. He hit out at Uddhav Thackeray, saying that he was out of his senses after losing party and power.
Speaking to reporters today in Nagpur, Bawankule said, “Whenever Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray wants to criticise someone, he either uses the ‘Saamana’ daily or asks Sanjay Raut to make a statement.”
Thackeray is frustrated and bewildered, he alleged.
“He even lost his party symbol. He is pained because he cannot return to power,” Bawankule added.
The NCP has joined hands with the BJP and Thackeray has now realised that he made a mistake by backstabbing Fadnavis in 2019, he claimed.
Objecting to the language of the ‘Saamana’ editorial, he said, “There has to be a limit while criticising political opponents by a newspaper. Our leaders will soon take a decision on this…There could be some protest-like situation in Mumbai.”.
“We will take a closer look at the rights of this newspaper and how they are using it (against us). We will file a complaint against ‘Saamana’. The kind of vitriol being spread by ‘Saamana’ needs to stop. We will make out stand clear,” he said.
He said the BJP can no longer tolerate the way certain things are being written in ‘Saamana’ in the name of freedom.
In the evening, members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), and a few BJP leaders, including MLA Mihir Kotecha and the party’s state vice president Kripashankar Singh, held a protest outside their headquarters near Mantralaya.
Speaking to reporters, Kotecha called Fadnavis a “development man”. “The language used against Fadnavis is totally unacceptable. If Sena (UBT) thinks we cannot get aggressive, let me tell them that we will respond with equal intensity.”.
The MLA said whoever is left in the MVA has lost his senses. “Similar protests are being held in other parts of Mumbai as well,” he said.
A BJYM member said if they happen to spot ‘Saamana’ executive editor Sanjay Raut in public, they will beat him up with footwear. The protesters also burned copies of ‘Saamana’.
PTI

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