Stating that the Muslim and Dalit communities in Maharashtra had whole-heartedly recognised the Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership as the ‘true Sena’, Thackeray camp leader Sanjay Raut on Friday said that the Election Commission’s decision awarding the party name and symbol to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde faction was “merely a decision on paper” and not the people’s verdict.
Speaking during his tour of Kolhapur and Sangli districts, Mr. Raut said that the people in the State had been unhappy with the ECI’s decision to award the party name and the bow-and-arrow symbol to the ‘rebel’ Shinde faction.
“Everywhere during my tour, I saw that our Muslim brothers have wholeheartedly welcomed us with shouts of ‘Shiv Sena Zindabad’ and ‘Jai Maharashtra’. The Dalit and Muslim community recognise Mr. Thackeray as the leader of the real Shiv Sena. Moreover, the people have not liked the ECI’s decision. They are questioning as to how the party founded by Bal Thackeray can belong to someone else,” said the Rajya Sabha MP.
Remarking that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had “lost sleep” over their defeat by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) troika in the Kasba Peth Assembly by-poll in Pune, Mr. Raut said that the Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) would contest seats and win the Sangli and Kolhapur districts in the 2024 Assembly election.
“What happened in Kasba Peth will happen in Sangli and Miraj (Assembly segment in Sangli district) in the 2024 Assembly election. The BJP thought Kasba was its bastion, but they did not realise that a major part of their presence over 30 years was due to the contribution of Shiv Sena workers. At least 35,000-40,000 voters in Kasba Peth were from the Shiv Sena who expressed their anger this time at Mr. Thackeray being toppled from the CM’s post by the Shinde faction,” said Mr. Raut.
Clarifying that his recent ‘chormandal’ (legislature of thieves) remark was directed at a particular faction (Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena), Mr. Raut said he had not insulted any MLA or the State legislature by his statement.
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Mr. Raut’s controversial remark had courted a breach of privilege motion from the ruling Shinde-BJP coalition.
“I accuse them [Shinde faction] of robbing the party, the Shiv Sena symbol and claiming to be ‘real’ Shiv Sena. Moreover, I have made this statement [ chormandal] outside the legislature, so it remains to be seen whether the breach of privilege against me falls under any actionable ambit,” said Mr. Raut.
Amid uproar over the remark, Deputy Chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, Neelam Gorhe on Thursday directed Mr. Raut to submit a reply within seven days to the breach of privilege notice, moved against him by the BJP.
Mr. Raut, however, said being on tour, he was yet to see the notice.
Nationalist Congress Party chief (NCP) Sharad Pawar— an ally of Mr. Raut— had expressed reservations on the composition of the committee formed to hear the breach of privilege notice against Mr. Raut.
Mr. Pawar, who took to Twitter to voice his disapproval at the composition of the committee, observed that the members who had demanded strict action against Mr. Raut, were themselves part of the privileges committee, hinting that the committee was bound to be prejudiced towards the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader.
“They are questioning as to how the party founded by Bal Thackeray can belong to someone else”Sanjay RautRajya Sabha MP