scorecardresearch
Friday, Oct 07, 2022

With eye on patch-up, Shinde Sena rebels spare Uddhav, gun for Pawar

It started with Deepak Kesarkar, the Sena MLA from the Sawantwadi constituency in Konkan, alleging that it was Pawar who had manoeuvred to ensure a split in the Sena in the past too. Kesarkar was with the NCP till 2014, when he switched sides and joined the Sena.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar (L) in Mumbai. (Express/File)

Days after toppling the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) dispensation in Maharashtra to form their own government in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the rebel Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde seems to be going rather soft on Thackeray while picking the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, Sharad Pawar, as their new target.

Targeting Pawar, the Sena rebels are now accusing him of having “misled” Thackeray in a bid to splinter their party.

It started with Deepak Kesarkar, the Sena MLA from the Sawantwadi constituency in Konkan, alleging that it was Pawar who had manoeuvred to ensure a split in the Sena in the past too. Kesarkar was with the NCP till 2014, when he switched sides and joined the Sena.

On Tuesday, expelled ex-Sena minister Ramdas Kadam expanded on Kesarkar’s charges. “I had told him (Uddhav Thackeray) with folded hands not to join Sharad Pawar. Balasaheb Thackeray worked for Hindutva and the current Sena is not that. Pawar grabbed the opportunity by using gullible Uddhavji. He (Uddhav) did not understand the game plan of Pawar, who split the party,” he alleged on Tuesday.

Subscriber Only Stories
‘If I did not explore art, my life would remain unfulfilled’: Lalu Prasad...Premium
On Budget review eve, macro worries are back amid global recession fearsPremium
Eye on China Party CongressPremium
We had to target 40 people a day: TN engineer who escaped Myanmar’s...Premium

Hours after Kadam resigned from his post as the Shiv Sena leader on Monday, Udhav expelled him along with former MP Anand Adsul from the Sena for “anti-party activities”. Kadam’s son Yogesh Kadam, a Sena MLA, is part of the Shinde-led breakaway party group.

For rebel Sena leaders, the bid not to go after Thackeray and keep their guns trained on Pawar has a dual-purpose objective. First, they hope to thus avoid their inclusion in the bad books of the Sena workers. Second, it keeps the door open for Thackeray to reconcile with the Shinde

faction as well as the BJP by blaming the crisis on the NCP and the Congress. This is also in sync with the claims made by Shinde that the Sena had drifted from the Hindutva ideology under the “influence” of the NCP and the Congress.

Advertisement

For the BJP, which backed Shinde’s rebellion against the Thackeray-headed Sena, the 81-year-old Maratha stalwart Pawar still remains a formidable political rival in Maharashtra. So, it suits the saffron party, the senior partner in the Shinde-led coalition government, if Pawar is depicted in a bad light for having allegedly ensured a split in the Sena.

In November 2019, when the Sena, NCP and Congress created the MVA in order to form their government, it was Pawar who had persuaded Thackeray to become the CM arguing that it was necessary for the coalition government’s stability. The rebels’ onslaught on Pawar stem from their perception that this is how Pawar “lured” Thackeray into the MVA alliance.

Besides, the Sena’s chief spokesperson and its four-term Rajya Sabha member, Sanjay Raut – a close confidant of Thackeray who is also considered close to Pawar – had been at the forefront of launching attacks on the BJP and the Sena rebels. Raut has thus drawn fire from the Sena rebels too.

Advertisement

In early 1990s, the then Sena leader Chhagan Bhujbal defected to the Congress with active support from Pawar, who was then with the grand old party. When Pawar quit the Congress and floated the NCP, Bhujbal switched to the latter.

Sena’s Ganesh Naik, a leader from Navi Mumabi, was also taken into his party’s fold by Pawar. Naik is now with the BJP. Another Sena rebel Narayan Rane had also warmed up to Pawar in 2005.

On its part, the NCP has reacted sharply to Kesarkar’s jibe at Pawar, reminding him that he was once associated with the party and should not engage in “belittling” his former leader.

The NCP’s chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said by taking aim at Pawar the Sena rebels were trying to deflect the Sena workers’ anger against them. “Uddhav Thackeray is real Shiv Sena and we (NCP) stand by him,” he said. The party has maintained that attacking Pawar has been a trend for his opponents. This time, however, it seems the Shinde camp followers’ onslaught on him is more than just a publicity stunt.

First published on: 19-07-2022 at 06:24:59 pm
Next Story

Gauahar Khan, Gulshan Devaiah and Pavan Malhotra to star in MX Player’s Shiksha Mandal

Latest Comment
Post Comment
Read Comments
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement