Advert war or Shinde-BJP rift? Maharashtra Govt on the defensive as NCP-Sena mount attack  


Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde pays floral tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj during an event in Palghar on Thursday. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was also present (ANI)

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) MP Sanjay Raut says BJP is still scared of his party leader and Shiv Sena’s dominance is intact in Maharashtra

Our Bureau

A major controversy has erupted in Maharashtra after full-page advertisements appeared in newspapers across the state with the tagline “Modi for India, Shinde for Maharashtra”. A front-page advertisement issued by the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena in newspapers across Maharashtra stoked a political controversy on Tuesday as it featured pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief minister, leaving out deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The advertisement claimed that a survey had revealed that more people in the state preferred Shinde for the CM’s post than Fadnavis. Soon after the advertisement created waves in political circles, the BJP-Shiv Sena government has released an advertisement featuring both leaders.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar on Tuesday slammed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena over the advertisement featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

He stated that the poster didn’t feature Shiv Sena’s stalwarts like Balasaheb Thackeray and Anand Dighe. “Till date, in my political career, I have not seen this kind of advertisement which I saw in today’s newspapers. PM Narendra Modi and CM Shinde’s photos were there in the advertisement,” Pawar said.

He added, “They (Shiv Sena) say that they are the soldiers of Balasaheb Thackeray, whereas Balasaheb Thackeray’s and Anand Dighe’s photos were missing from the advertisement.”

Days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena came under fire after a front-page newspaper advertisement that featured Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, but not his deputy, Devendra Fadnavis, State BJP President Chandrashekhar Bawankulee on Thursday said that in a family, brothers can also have differences and fights.

Downplaying the incident, Bawankulee said, “In a family, two brothers also fight. So, differences might occur. Now that the advertisement has come and everything is clear, I think we should close this matter,” said Bawankulee.

BJP member Praveen Darekar said that the Sena’s ad “was not right”, while Sanjay Raut of the Uddhav Sena alleged Shinde’s camp had forgotten Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.

The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) MP said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s extensive speech in Nanded on Uddhav Thackeray shows that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is still scared of his party leader and Shiv Sena’s dominance is intact in Maharashtra.

Shah on Saturday spoke of Uddhav Thackeray and undivided Shiv Sena’s alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) under Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ahead of the results of the 2019 Assembly polls. “In Amit Shah’s 20-minute speech in Nanded, he spoke on Uddhav Thackeray for at least seven minutes. This means that Matoshree’s dominance is still intact. Shiv Sena party was broken, and its name and symbol were given to traitors. Even after this, the fear of Thackeray and the Shiv Sena is visible in them, this fear is good,” a rough translation of his tweet in Marathi read.

The Shiv Sena spokesperson from the Uddhav Thackeray camp said that the BJP still fears them despite its symbol and name being given to the ‘traitors’, the Eknath Shinde camp of the Shiv Sena.

Earlier on Saturday, while addressing a public meeting at Maharashtra’s Nanded said, “The BJP believes that there should be no reservation on the grounds of religion as it is unconstitutional. (Former Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena UBT chief) Uddhav Thackeray should make his stand clear on this.”

Further, targeting Uddhav for the undivided Shiv Sena’s alliance with the Congress, Shah said, “I was the president of the party at the time. Devendra Fadnavis and I were in Maharashtra to preside over the negotiations (with the Sena on the formation of the government should we come to power). Uddhav Thackeray had accepted that if NDA gets the majority in the 2019 elections, Fadnavis will become CM of Maharashtra. But when the results were declared and NDA won, Thackeray broke his promise and formed an alliance with Congress and NCP.”

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