After senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi, a five-time MP from the party Mohan Rawle has spoken out against its chief Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership. “I will not campaign for the candidate the party has picked from Mumbai South Central constituency. If they do not field a candidate with a good image, I will not campaign from here,” Mr. Rawle told The Hindu.
Mr. Rawle caused a flutter within Shiv Sena circles last week when he called on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray. Though he claimed his visit was purely personal, Mr. Rawle was non-committal about his future in the Shiv Sena. “I have not decided anything yet,” he said.
The former MP is upset with reports that the party plans to field former MLC Arvind Sawant from his old constituency. “I am not upset that I am not getting the ticket. But I should at least have been taken into confidence,” he complains. Over the last year, he says, he has been systematically sidelined within the party. “My face is no longer on the Shiv Sena posters in this area. I am not allowed to address local gatherings. This is very insulting,” he adds.
Indirectly criticising Mr. Uddhav he said, “I was always very close to Bal Thackeray. He used to take his own decisions. He was not dependant on the advice of others.”
The party has chosen to ignore the outburst. “We have no sought any clarification from Mr. Rawle about his meeting with Raj Thackeray. He has not complained to the party leadership about anything,” said senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut.