MUMBAI: As the Shiv Sena has launched a blistering attack on its former ally, the BJP, the latter has roped in its state president Devendra Fadnavis to play a telltale.
Fadnavis on Monday indirectly questioned the Shiv Sena leaders’ source of funding. “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is not anyone’s private property. We don’t celebrate the great king’s birth anniversary by collecting hafta (extortion) from others,” he said without naming the Shiv Sena.
When asked for his reaction to criticism in Saamna, Fadnavis sought to suggest that he was not bothered by the Sena mouthpiece.
“We don’t react to any newspaper or it’s editorial. We don’t run our campaign using black money,” he said. An editorial in Saamna had asked why the BJP broke the alliance if it respected Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Sunday announced that he would not utter a word against the Shiv Sena as a mark of respect to Thackeray.
A BJP leader said that Fadnavis will keep taunting the Sena in “decent” and “indirect” ways though he had declared that the Shiv Sena will not be the party’s prime target. “How can we sit idle when the Shiv Sena is making allegations against us? We will give them a befitting reply without naming them,” he said. State BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari claimed that Fadnavis’ remarks regarding extortion were aimed at the NCP and not the Shiv Sena.
“I fail to understand why the Shiv Sena felt that the remarks were made against them. It seems they took it upon themselves,” he said.
Shiv Sena leader Arvind Bhosale, meanwhile, alleged that Fadnavis had not only insulted his colleagues, but also the followers of the Maratha Emperor.
“Fadnavis’ remarks were childish. He must apologise for the same,” Bhosale said. The BJP felt humiliated after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray alleged that the former had backstabbed Thackeray by snapping ties with Sena. He also sarcastically said that the BJP did not have anyone to be projected as the Chief Minister and whether the party wanted to make Prime Minister Modi the CM by seeking votes in his name.