The Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena and the BJP strongly condemned Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray faction leader Sanjay Raut’s tweet on Sunday, in which he claimed that Rs 2000 crore had changed hands to make sure the Eknath faction got the Sena name and bow-and-arrow symbol.
BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla called Raut the “Rahul Gandhi of Maharashtra” who had “reduced Uddhav Sena to a Congress-style party” that abuses constitutional institutions like the Election Commission of India (ECI) by making “scurrilous allegations when the verdict goes against them”.
“Mogambo khush hua“
On the other hand, Uddhav lashed out at senior BJP leader and chief strategist Amit Shah later in the day, saying he must have been very happy with the Shinde faction getting the coveted symbol and name. “Mogambo khush hua,” Uddhav said, using the well-known line from the acclaimed 1987 movie Mr India.
Speaking at a public meeting in Mumbai’s Andheri, Uddhav asked where BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were when the “Shiv Sainiks saved Mumbai” during the 1993 serial blasts. “Those talking of Hindutva now, where were they? … Now they brag about 56-inch chest. Where was that 56-inch chest then? He was sweating.”
Also read: Uddhav Thackeray calls Shinde ‘thief’ over Shiv Sena election symbol row
“Yesterday, someone (Amit Shah) came to Pune. He asked how things were in Maharashtra. Someone said it was a very good day, because the Shiv Sena name and symbol had been given to the slaves… So, he (Shah) said, ‘Mogambo khush hua’,” Uddhav said.
Sena Vs Sena
In a massive setback for the Uddhav faction, the ECI on Friday allotted the party name “Shiv Sena” and its known symbol “bow and arrow” to the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Shinde. The latter last year rebelled against Uddhav and toppled his government by joining the BJP with most of his MLAs. For the first time, the Thackeray family has lost control over the outfit founded by Uddhav’s father Bal Thackeray in 1966. Since last year, there has been a spat over which faction is the “real” Shiv Sena, for which the Uddhav faction even approached the Supreme Court.
Earlier on Sunday, Raut tweeted in Hindi that he was sure that “deals and transactions worth Rs 2000 crore have been done so far to get the Shiv Sena party name and symbol.” He added that it was a “preliminary figure and hundred per cent true.” “Soon, there will be many revelations. This has never happened before in the country’s history,” his tweet read.
In another tweet, Raut said BJP would “go to any extreme to safeguard its investment of 2000 Crs (40 MLA X 50 Cr).” According to him, the 40 MLAs who defected from the party last year were paid Rs 50 crore each. Raut later told reporters that a builder close to the BJP told him about the deal, and that he had proof to back his claim, which he would disclose soon.
Shinde faction, BJP react
Sanjay Raut has now become the Rahul Gandhi of Maharashtra & has reduced Uddhav Sena to a Congress style party that abuses & insults Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Constitutional institutions like ECI by making scurrilous allegations when the verdict goes against them! Shameful pic.twitter.com/XLI4ON2qQm
— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) February 19, 2023
Reacting to his allegation, Shinde camp MLA Sada Sarvankar quipped, “Is Sanjay Raut a cashier?”
Poonawalla tweeted, “Sanjay Raut has now become the Rahul Gandhi of Maharashtra & has reduced Uddhav Sena to a Congress style party that abuses & insults Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Constitutional institutions like ECI by making scurrilous allegations when the verdict goes against them! Shameful”
"₹2000 Crores SAUDA (Paid) for
Name & Symbol of #ShivSena " says #SanjayRaut
I hope #UddhavThackeray group will mention this in their Appeal, which they are filing in the Court @BJP4India @Dev_Fadnavis @mieknathshinde
— Kirit Somaiya (@KiritSomaiya) February 19, 2023
Maharashtra BJP leader Kirit Somaiya tweeted, “I hope Uddhav Thackeray group will mention this in their appeal, which they are filing in the Court.”
While the Uddhav Thackeray faction has said it will move Supreme Court against the ECI’s decision, Shinde has already filed a caveat in SC, notifying it about Uddhav’s possible move, and urged the court to hear from the Maharashtra government before passing any order.
(With agency inputs)