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Verbal spats, banner wars between BJP and Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena faction ahead of BMC poll


Mumbai: As the electoral battle intensifies for the high-stakes Brihanmumbai Corporation (BMC) poll, a verbal spat in tandem with a banner war has erupted between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction, which currently controls the cash-rich civic body. 

On Sunday, BJP’s Mumbai unit chief Ashish Shelar lashed out at former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, after the Thackeray camp in its party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ sardonically dubbed the BJP as ‘Kamalabai’ (because of the BJP’s election symbol kamal (lotus) symbol. 

 In a riposte to Uddhav Thackeray, Ashish Shelar said henceforth, the BJP would refer to the Thackeray-led Sena as ‘Penguin Sena’, alluding to the battered Sena after the revolt of Eknath Shinde and 39 MLAs as well as 12 MPs.  

In a series of tweets and a scathing letter to the Sena chief, Mumbai BJP unit chief Ashish Shelar said: “You go on ridiculing the BJP by calling it ‘Kamalabai’. No problem. In bai (woman) there is the connotation of mother, sister and goddess Laxmi. So can we term whatever remains of the party under your leadership as ‘Penguin Sena?’ 

On Saturday, a Saamana had run an article with the headline “Kamalabai is desperate, now Congress is under BJP’s radar,’’ alluding to Congressman and former chief minister Ashok Chavan’s alleged ‘meeting’ with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and rumours of the BJP trying to engineer a split within the Congress. 

Ashish Shelar, recently appointed the new Mumbai city president ahead of the BMC poll, further accused Uddhav Thackeray of not contributing anything to the progress of Mumbai city when the latter was the chief minister. 

On the other hand, he asserted that it was the new BJP-Sena (Shinde faction) government, supported by the BJP-led Central government that was on the road to making Mumbai economically strong and keep its rightful place as India’s financial capital. 

Meanwhile, on Saturday night, Shiv Sainiks from the Thackeray faction tore down BJP banners in Worli, the assembly constituency of Aaditya Thackeray. 

While the Sena has held sway over the BMC for over two decades, the BJP, which now has a ‘Trojan Horse’ in form of Eknath Shinde’s rebel Sena faction, is determined to oust the Thackeray camp from the civic body in the coming election.   

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is to meet BJP leaders in connection with the BMC poll at Devendra Fadnavis’ residence on Monday. Shah will be visiting Mumbai’s celebrated Ganesh pandal Lalbaugcha Raja followed by a visit to the residences of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Devendra Fadnavis and Ashish Shelar for Ganesh darshan. 


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