A day before the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena protest march on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday, Rahul Kanal, one of the close confidantes of Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, will join Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. After Ameya Ghole and Prof Manisha Kayande, Rahul will be the third leader who was close to Aaditya Thackeray and will be quitting the Thackeray Sena to join Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena.
Kanal, who was once criticized by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitesh Rane, will now be seen together in a joint rally of the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance during various elections.
Ameya Ghole, former corporator and former Chairman of the Health Committee of BMC and a key leader of Yuva Sena, quit the party and joined Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) in April this year. While quitting the party, he alleged Yuva Sena secretary Suraj Chavan and party leader Shraddha Jadhav for creating hurdles for him. According to sources from the Shinde Sena faction, the same thing happened with Rahul Kanal. Kanal, who was a very close aide of Aaditya Thackeray, was systematically sidelined by party leaders.
Kanal, a 37-year-old leader, started his political career with Yuva Sena and was elected as the first Vice President of the party. In 2017, he was often noticed sitting in the chamber of Yashwant Jadhav, then Leader of the House and later Chairman of the Standing Committee, and then Leader of the House Vishakha Raut in the BMC office. Even when Uddhav Thackeray was Chief Minister of the state, Yashwant Jadhav was raided by the Income Tax Department in an alleged tax evasion case. At the same time, IT conducted raids on properties associated with Kanal on March 22, 2022.
Rahul Kanal, along with all office-bearers of Yuva Sena from Bandra West, was suspended by the Shiv Sena on Friday, June 30, 2023. This decision was announced through Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana. In response, Kanal took to Twitter, where he wrote,
“Feeling Sad!!! I very well know who has done this, but removing people who have worked for you without a hearing is arrogance. You could remove me, but not the people who have worked day and night. Chalo acha hai sabko pata chale ke Ego Aur arrogance kya hota hai!!” (it’s good that now people will know what happens with ego and arrogance).
Though Rahul has not mentioned the name of any leader, it seems his target is Aaditya Thackeray.
Interestingly, Nitesh Rane, youth leader of the BJP, had tweeted against Rahul Kanal when IT conducted raids on Kanal’s office, stating:
“IT raids at Rahul Kanal’s house!! Aur nikalo Humare Aadhish pe morcha..Bola tha.. Waqt Waqt ki baat hai!!..Mobile tower locations and CDR of Kanal on the 8th and 13th night will also help solve the Disha and SSR cases!! Partners in crime?”
In the upcoming days, both Nitesh and Rahul will be seen sharing the dais during the election rallies.