Maharashtra BJP on Wednesday demanded a CBI probe against Shiv Sena Minister Anil Parab for “misusing” his power to get Union Minister Narayan Rane arrested during the Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Konkan on Monday.
BJP legislator and former minister Ashish Shelar said, “A video clip shows Shiv Sena’s Transport and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab issuing orders to the police and the local administration to act against Rane.”
Parab, the Guardian Minister of Ratnagiri, was in a press conference on Tuesday when broke off to speak twice on the phone. He was audible as he was sitting before open microphones on the table.
“Hello, what are you people doing? But you need to do it. Have you detained him or not?… what order are they asking for? The high court and sessions court have rejected his bail (application)… then use the police force,” Parab is heard saying on the phone apparently to a police officer.
Shelar said the video was evidence that Rane’s arrest was premeditated. “The CBI should investigate Parab’s video clip and expose the mastermind behind for creating a ruckus in Maharashtra.”
The Shiv Sena brushed off the demand, saying that Parab was only instructing police officers in the capacity of the district guardian minister.
Vinayak Raut, Shiv Sena MP and party leader in the Lok Sabha, said: “As a guardian minister, it is Parab’s duty to maintain law and order in the district. In this regard, if he was giving any instruction to the superintendent of police, then there is nothing wrong in it.”
Sources in the Sena also pointed out that the orders of Rane’s arrest were issued by Nashik Police and other police stations. “There is no question of Parab ordering the arrest of Rane,” said a senior Sena leader requesting anonymity.
A day after Rane was arrested and released on bail, BJP appeared renewed in its resolve to settle scores with political opponent Shiv Sena, putting aside any misgivings it might have that the Rane episode had not gone in its favour.
Several district units staged demonstrations against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in a bid to shift focus from ‘Rane vs Thackeray’ to BJP’s “nationalism” vs MVA’s “anti-nationalism”.
The BJP youth wing has decided to write 75,000 letters to Thackeray, each highlighting the date of Independence Day. “India got Independence on August 15, 1947. This is the 75th year. It is called Amrut Mahotsav,” the letter would say.
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, said, “Maharashtra government finds nothing objectionable when Sharjeel Usmani comes and speaks against the country. But when Rane expressed sentiments about Independence Day facts, he is arrested.”
Usmani is a former student of Aligarh Muslim University who delivered a speech at the Elgaar Parishad event this year.
According to BJP sources, the state leadership has directed workers to not deviate from the central theme of “exposing” the “CM does not know the year of Independence”.
The offending remark by Rane, which triggered the entire controversy, centred on Thackeray purportedly asking an official during his Independence Day speech if it was the diamond anniversary of Independence this year.
Shelar said Rane’s arrest was a “diversionary tactic” to hide what the BJP insists was the CM’s “ignorance” and farmers’ suicides, including one outside Mantralaya.
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