After forcing its English-speaking TV face Rahul Narvekar from Mumbai to quit the party, the Shiv Sena has now dumped its urbane young face in Pune, Sarang Kamtekar, who articulated the party’s views effectively to the media and at various public forums. The Sena leadership has cited no reason for his expulsion and various senior leaders seemed clueless about the move, which has added to the confusion prevailing in the party in Maval constituency.
A campaign manager for sitting MP Gajanan Babar, Kamtekar (42) has served as vice-president of the Sena’s youth wing. Kamtekar in tandem with his wife, corporator Seema Savle, has in the past 10 years exposed — mainly through RTI applications — several acts of omission and commission of the NCP-ruled Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). The duo had taken the PCMC to court on several occasions and succeeded in bringing a stay on projects that were being carried out in violation of norms. Kamtekar had forced the PCMC administration to do a rethink on premium reduction for constructions along BRTS route that would have resulted in a loss of Rs 3,750 crore to the civic body. He was also instrumental in highlighting the “TDR irregularities” in PCMC.
Kamtekar said he had learnt of his expulsion through party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. “The party leadership has given me no reason for it,” he said. Saying he was shocked and hurt by the decision, Kamtekar said, “ have a been a loyal party workers for 24 years. I have no intention to join any other party,” he said.
No Sena leader was in a position to pinpoint the reason for the move. Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said, “I don’t know…you can ask other party leaders such as Shrirang Barne.” Barne was not available for comment. Sena general secretary Anil Desai, who reportedly drafts expulsion letters on the directives of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said, “I am not aware of it as I was out of town for two-three days.” He said Sena leader Subhash Desai might know the reason. When contacted, Subash Desai said Neelam Gorhe would be aware of it. Pune district Sena chief Baba Dhumal, too, evaded a reply.
Kamtekar, however, hinted that Sena’s Maval candidate Shrirang Barne could be behind the move. “Those who have come into Sena from other parties and have nothing to do with Sena ideology are now calling the shots in the Sena,” he said, in an apparent reference to Barne who had defected from Congress to Sena four years ago. Some Sena leaders alleged that Kamtekar was instigating party rank and file to protest Barne’s nomination as Sena candidate from Maval. “As many as 45 party office-bearers have resigned at his behest,” said a Sena leader who did not wish to be named.
NCP’s Maval candidate Rahul Narvekar, who quit the Shiv Sena on Monday, said, “There is no room for young, committed and loyal leaders such as Kamtekar in Sena…That is why I, too, quit the party.”
Kamtekar, who is convent educated, is the among the few Sena leaders in Pune who articulated the party’s views in English.