'Spitting' row: Sanjay Raut and NCP leader Ajit Pawar lock horns
Trigger was Raut spitting on the ground in front of cameras during a press conference on Friday when reporters sought his reaction to Shiv Sena MP Shrikant’ Shinde’s jibe targetting Uddhav Thackeray.
Nashik: Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut locked the horn over their controversial conduct and statement, "spitting is better than urinating".
A war of words erupted on Saturday between Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut and Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar with both leaders attacking each other indirectly amid a “spitting” row.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction, NCP, and Congress are constituents of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) preparing to contest the 2024 elections in alliance.
The trigger was Raut spitting on the ground in front of cameras during a press conference on Friday when reporters sought his reaction to Shiv Sena MP Shrikant’ Shinde’s jibe targetting Uddhav Thackeray.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut regretted that he would not have made spitting better than urinating a statement that soured the relationship between the two leaders. Raut on Saturday claimed spitting was accidental and not intentional as he was having a problem with his teeth.
Shrikant, a Lok Sabha MP from Kalyan, had criticised Thackeray, saying that he might be touring abroad as he could not tolerate Mumbai's scorching heat. Sanjay Raut paused for a few seconds and asked, “Who is saying this?” When a journalist named Shrikant Shinde, Sanjay Raut spat on the ground and then spoke with the journalist. The incident was caught on camera and got viral on social media.
In response to this, NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “Everyone restraint before making any objectionable statements and conduct. We have the right culture, tradition and history that goes from the days of the first chief minister of Maharashtra Yashwantrao Chavan. Mr Chavan has shown us how a cultured Maharashtra can make its contribution. I have heard that Sanjay Raut was suffering from some ailment and therefore had to spit” Pawar added.
Then, reacting, Sanjay Raut immediately hit back at Ajit Pawar and said “It is better to spit than urinate in the dam”. Ajit Pawar stirred up a row in 2013 with his comments ridiculing the acute water scarcity in the state.
Referring to the hunger strike of a drought-hit farmer, Ajit Pawar had said, “He is on fast for the last 55 days. If there is no water in the dam, how can we release it? Should we urinate into it? If there is no water to drink, even urination is not possible”. He later apologised for his remarks.
Political observers said that both leaders need to restrain from making such statements that will damage the prospect of the Maha Vikas Aghadi and particularly NCP and Shiv Sena. “Oppositions have to make peace and put the united face together but here the top leaders are fighting like street children. This is not at all good for the Oppositions ahead of the key elections,” he added.