The BJP on Tuesday used the arrest of Union Minister Narayan Rane to galvanise its own cadre in the big fight against Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, but distanced itself from his remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
“We don’t support Rane’s remark against the CM. But let me make it clear that the entire BJP is with Rane. At the most, such an uncharacteristic remark could have been countered by the ruling coalition through statements. Where was the need to lodge an FIR and issue an arrest order?… Will Maharashtra be governed by law? Is this the Taliban?” former chief minister Devendra Fadavis said.
While BJP workers were not involved in the street battles between Shiv Sainiks and Rane supporters, the party has jumped in to support him.
Distancing itself from Rane’s remark of giving the CM a “tight slap” was in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instructions to party workers and elected representatives to mind their language while criticising opponents, said BJP sources.
“The possibility of the PM ticking off Rane cannot be ruled out,” said a BJP insider, but added that “at this moment, the central and state leadership believe they should be seen supporting Rane”.
BJP leaders maintained that Sena cadre had used equally denigrating language against Rane in the past. “There is a long list of leaders of ruling parties in high position using derogatory words to attack BJP,” said state unit president Chandrakant Patil.
Many in BJP believe that Sena was looking for a chance to get even with Rane and his sons who had tired to implicate Thackeray scion Aaditya Thackeray in the suicide cases of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and his former manager Disha Salian last year.
BJP’s Kirit Somaiya said, “We are not going to be intimidated by such action against Rane. It makes our resolve stronger to expose the corruption in Congress, NCP and Sena government. From Anil Deshmukh, Anil Parab and Milind Narwekar, we have exposed their corruption. Now, more are in the pipeline.”
Former BJP minister Ashish Shelar threatened tit for tat if Sena does not show restrain. “If Sena does not stop tamasha, BJP will do tandav across Maharashtra.”
According to sources in BJP, party workers have been told not to take the attack on the BJP office lying down. The party has decided that Opposition leader in Legislative Council, Praveen Darekar, as well as leaders Ashish Shelar and Prasad Lad, will continue their Jan Ashirwad Yatra underway in other parts of the state.