Sanjay Raut, a leader of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) faction, stirred controversy on Monday by allegedly sharing a photo of Chandrashekhar Bawankule, President of Maharashtra’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and an MLC from Nagpur, insinuating his involvement in gambling at a Macau casino. Raut took to his official social media account, claiming the image depicted Bawankule inside a casino and alleged a loss of Rs 3.50 crore in a single night.
Raut asserted that the photo captured Bawankule gambling in Macau while Maharashtra grapples with Maratha reservation issues, questioning the leader’s priorities. Encouraging users to zoom in on the image, Raut urged confirmation of the person in the photo.
Responding to the allegations, Bawankule defended himself, stating, “This is the area of the hotel where I stayed with my family in Macau. The hotel has a restaurant and casino on the ground floor. This photo was taken while I was dining with my family after dinner.” In response, Raut insinuated that the people standing beside Bawankule in the photo were not family members.
Raut further pressed Bawankule, asking, “If you’ve never gambled, then why were you there? What was on the table? The more you reveal, the more you deceive! Isn’t this spectacle sufficient?”
Additionally, Raut claimed the photo was taken on Sunday at midnight in the Veneshine Casino in Macau, alleging eyewitness accounts of Bawankule’s alleged Rs 3.50 crore loss. Defending gambling, Raut questioned, “If a Hindu plays dice, where’s the issue?”
In a Marathi tweet, Raut emphasized the discord between Maharashtra’s ongoing challenges and the alleged actions of the BJP leader, remarking, “Maharashtra is in turmoil… and this gentleman is seen gambling in a Macau casino. Try zooming the photo… is it him?”
Earlier, regarding the ICC Cricket World Cup final organized in Ahmedabad, Sanjay Raut criticized the BJP, suggesting they would not spare even cricket in their political pursuits.