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BJP’s gambit to make Shinde CM a ploy to wrest control of Mumbai from Sena, alleges Sanjay Raut


Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday contended that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde the Chief Minister of Maharashtra merely to wrest Mumbai from the Sena. He further claimed that like other Sena MLAs, he too had received an offer to join the Shinde camp in Guwahati, but had refused to side with them. 

The Sena chief spokesperson further remarked, “BJP wants to destroy the Shiv Sena in Mumbai and Maharashtra. But it will not happen.” Raut is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged scam pertaining to the re-development of Patra Chawl in Mumbai. 

Sanjay Raut argued that the BJP’s gambit to install Eknath Shinde as the Chief Minister was solely to wrest the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from the Sena’s control. The cash-rich BMC, said to be the richest civic body in Asia, is the Shiv Sena’s lifeline and power-base and the party’s major resource centre in Maharashtra.  

The BJP under Devendra Fadnavis after having engineered a major coup by wrecking former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s party and toppling the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the BJP is now gunning for victory in the critical BMC election which is due in a few months.  

The Sena has held absolute sway over the Mumbai civic body for two decades. While, the BJP riding high on the ‘Narendra Modi wave’ in 2017 had almost rattled its former ally in the 2017 BMC polls, when it had won 82 of the total 227 seats, coming second within whiskers distance only to the Sena’s tally of 84 seats. The Sena’s strength later increased to 97 with the support of some independents and the defection of some corporators from the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). 

This has made the upcoming BMC poll in the context of dramatically altered political equations in the State a matter of life -and-death for the Uddhav Thackeray led Sena faction. 

Claiming that he had rejected the rebels offer to join their camp, Sanjay Raut said he chose not to go to Assam as he was a staunch follower of (late Sena chief) Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideals. 

Taking a jibe at Devendra Fadnavis, the Sena MP further stated that it was tough to envisage the former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in his current role of Deputy Chief Minister. Raut further remarked, “Fadnavis was not eager to take the Deputy Chief Minister’s post. But he bowed before his high command’s order and kept party discipline.” 


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