BJP Is Using Criminals To Pressurise Us: Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut

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 Uddhav Thackeray with Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis in file photo

Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut on Sunday alleged that Bhartiya Janata Party is using “criminals and goons” to force Shiv Sena to come to negotiating table for government formation.

“Some criminals, goons, who have just come out of jail and have got this government’s blessings,  were also used to pressurize us but even they proved ineffective and went back to thier dens. Very soon, we will disclose which criminals were tasked with what and how government machinery was used. I have all the details of who these people (criminals) were talking to and meeting with. Even the criminals won’t do such politics (which the ruling party is doing),” Raut told reporters in Mumbai on Sunday.

This was a new low in the power tussle which has been going on for over a week since the Maharashtra assembly election results were declared on October 24 which threw a fractured mandate. 

Sharad Pawar’s NCP was quick to support Raut and its Mumbai chief Nawab Malik claimed that he had been saying the same thing since 2014.

“Sanjay Raut has only reiterated what we have been saying for the last five years. The BJP has only encouraged anti-social elements and even absorbed them in the party fold. Even in the elections, they had roped in many goons and criminals,” Malik told reporters.

Reacting to Raut’s statement, senior BJP minister Girish Mahajan told Marathi news channel ABP Majha, “I don know where the criminals were used and who were threatened. Sanjay Raut has a right to speak so he is speaking but he should give us some proof as well. Such statements are not helping the situation and should be avoided.”

However, there appears to be no end to the impasse and the war of words between the saffron allies is only heating up with each passing day.

Raut, who is also the editor of Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, claimed that he had names and details of “goons and anti-social elements” who were roped in by the BJP.

“They (BJP) can also use ED (Enforcement Directorate) to form the government but it is going to boomerang on them,” he added.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was in Aurangabad on Sunday to meet the farmers affected by unseasonal rains, took a jibe at Chief Minister Fadnavis.

“The rain says it will come back again which is why my farmer is worried,” Thackeray told reporters in an apparent reference to Devendra Fadnavis’s slogan during the election: “I will come back again”.

According to an Indian Express report on Sunday, Fadnavis is willing to consider Shiv Sena’s demand for equal division of ministerial portfolios.

However, there has been no formal meeting between the alliance partners since the day of election results. 

“We have been asked to keep quiet which is why we are not saying anything,” Mahajan has said.

Another senior state BJP leader Sudhir Munguntiwar, who had threatened the imposition of president’s rule in the state if the government is not formed by November 7, went silent on Sunday after Shiv Sena became more aggressive after his statement.

“Do they have the president in thier pocket?” Raut had shot back.

On Sunday, Raut claimed that his party can obtain the support of over 170 MLAs and is capable of forming the government.

The bone of contention between the two allies, who contested the election in the alliance, has been the chair of Chief Minister.

The Shiv Sena claims that BJP promised it “50-50” share in the power which included sharing the post of chief minister whereas Fadnavis denied any such claim.

While driving a hard bargain, the Shiv Sena is also trying to indicate that it can explore other options but Sharad Pawar has ruled out any possibility of a tie-up with Shiv Sena.

The power tussle between these two allies is attracting criticism as the unseasonal rain has damaged crops in many parts of the state.

A farmer from Beed district of the state recently wrote to Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and urged him to make him the chief minister of the state till BJP-Shiv Sena sort out thier difrances.