Sainiks will never accept Sharad Pawar as leader, says Shiv Sena’s Anant Geete

Anant Geete   | Photo Credit: File photo

Striking yet another discordant note within the tripartite Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, senior Shiv Sena leader and former Union Minister Anant Geete on Tuesday remarked that the unnatural MVA coalition was just a political compromise and that the Sena could never toe the ideological line of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) or the Congress, as ordinary Shiv Sainiks would never accept NCP chief Sharad Pawar as their leader.

“Sharad Pawar formed the NCP by stabbing the Congress in the back…so, when there is such an acrimonious rift between the two Congresses, how can one expect the NCP and the Sena to agree with each other and why should Shiv Sainiks accept Sharad Pawar as their leader…their leader can and only be [late Sena founder] Bal Thackeray,” said Mr. Geete, the former Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises.

The Sena leader, a five-time MP, was speaking in Shrivardhan taluk in Raigad district during a political gathering that saw a few local NCP leaders enter the Sena fold.

Despite the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress sharing power in the MVA, Mr. Geete, a close aide of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, was unsparing in his comments directed against coalition allies and disparaging of the anomalous nature of the ideologically opposed MVA government.

'Balasaheb is the real guru'

“What is the Shiv Sena and what is the responsibility of Shiv Sainiks today? While we have a Chief Minister [from the Sena], we [Sena activists] cannot regard the rest of the government in which the Congress and the NCP are part of as ours…other leaders may shower accolades on Mr. Pawar, but a Shiv Sainik’s real guru can only be Balasaheb Thackeray,” said Mr. Geete, a former MP from Raigad.

He remarked that as long as the MVA government functioned, it would pull on, but there was no saying what could happen if the Sena broke off with its coalition partners.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Mr. Geete lost the Raigad seat to his rival in the region — senior NCP leader Sunil Tatkare — in a humdinger of a contest.

Meanwhile, MVA leaders scrambled into damage control mode, with Sena spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut distancing the party from Mr. Geete’s remarks.

“Everyone has accepted Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership…both Mr. Thackeray and Mr. Pawar are tall leaders of the State. The MVA leadership has nothing to do with Mr. Geete’s remarks. The government will complete its five-year term without any hitch,” said Mr. Raut.

NCP leader Shashikant Shinde urged restraint on the part of MVA leaders while making public statements, remarking that Mr. Geete’s comments had created an unwarranted controversy.

However, Mr. Geete’s statements, which chime in with similar provocative remarks made by other MVA leaders such as Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole, were ammunition for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), providing ‘proof’ of the fragility of the tripartite alliance.

“Mr. Geete has spoken the truth…the NCP is just a party of selfish leaders concerned with wealth and power. The Sena had made a historic mistake by forming an alliance with the Congress and Mr. Pawar’s party after the 2019 Assembly poll,” said senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 8:32:26 AM |

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