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Rane episode ‘fires up’ Shiv Sainiks, party leaders welcome it as return to ‘core strength’

Narayan Rane crossed all limits, say Shiv Sena leaders as cadres attacked BJP offices in several cities, raised slogans and even threw stones at some places, triggered by his comments against Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: August 26, 2021 7:20:50 am
narayan rane arrest uddhav thackeray statementMaharashtra ruling party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) workers seen protesting against Union Minister Narayan Rane for his comments against CM Uddhav Thackeray. (Express Photo by Arul Horizon)

The muscle power exhibited by Shiv Sena cadres in response to Narayan Rane’s comments against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday is being welcomed by party leaders who are seeing it as a return to the party’s core strength.

In state-wide protests and demonstrations, Shiv Sena cadres attacked BJP offices in several cities, raised slogans and even threw stones at some places. One BJP leader’s face was blackened.

The Sainiks have also vowed to not let Rane campaign in Mumbai during the upcoming civic elections. Shiv Sena leader Vinayak Raut, MP from Ratnagiri, said the party had been exercising restraint since coming to power in alliance with Congress and NCP, despite “provocations” from BJP. But Rane had crossed the line, he claimed.

“The chief minister himself was leading by example, showing restraint and patience despite being attacked without rhyme or reason. But Rane has crossed limits of decency. In such a situation, the Sainiks cannot keep quiet. And they have rightly come forth and expressed their anger in the way they could,” Raut said, adding that Sena’s “aggressive approach will always remain intact for the sake of the party and people of the state.”

Raut said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that Rane be sacked as a Union minister. “I had written a letter and sought an appointment for a meeting with the prime minister. I have also got an acknowledgement from the PM’s office today itself. The PMO said since the prime minister was busy, I should seek an appointment from the home minister. In my letter, I have pointed out that Rane, despite being a Union minister, was behaving irresponsibly by using objectionable language against the chief minister of a state and therefore, he should be either asked to resign or sacked”.

Kishore Tiwari, a local Shiv Sena leader, said Rane’s comments had “infused new energy” in the party. “The Shiv Sena leaders and workers had been quiet for a long time as the party was in power in the state. Even during the Sushant Singh Rajput case when attempts were being made to drag Aditya Thackeray’s name and challenge Uddhav Thackeray, the party had kept quiet,” he claimed.

He said it was time for the party workers to go after the big leaders of the BJP. “I don’t approve of things like blackening the face of little-known BJP leaders.”

Former MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil said Rane had “stooped low” in attacking the chief minister. “Uddhav Thackeray is Maharashtra’s CM as well as our party chief. If anyone tries to humiliate our supreme leader, this is how the Sainiks will respond… Sainiks in aggressive mode augurs well for the party. The image of Shiv Sena in the minds of ordinary people is of an aggressive party which will always rush forth to provide them justice,” he said.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said Shiv Sena was behaving like a mafia. “Only five days back, my car was attacked with stones. Last year, even a retired Naval officer was attacked. And today they attacked BJP offices. Sainiks are indulging in this goonda-giri because they know some of their leaders will be arrested for corruption. At least four leaders will soon be arrested and then it will be the turn of some more Sena leaders. The Sena is part of a corrupt regime and it is trying to protect itself by indulging in such behaviour,” he said.

The Congress, however, said it was BJP that was indulging in goonda-giri. “The BJP is using two Union ministers to do goondaism. It was Union minister Raosaheb Danve who had made an objectionable statement last week against party leader Rahul Gandhi and now Rane has stooped low while attacking the chief minister. BJP is doing all these deliberately in a bid to create trouble in Maharashtra and impose President’s rule. The BJP has been making all attempts to dislodge the MVA government and Rane’s comment is another example of the party’s devious design,” Congress spokesman Gopal Tiwari said.

Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “If anybody tries to run down Shiv Sena and its chief minister, then the Sainiks will give a befitting reply. We will not unnecessarily target anyone unless he tries to insult our party and its top leader. The anger of Sainiks reflects their love and respect for the party chief.”

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