Ban orders in Mumbai as MLA offices attacked

Police personnel outside the residence of Eknath Shinde in Thane on June 25, 2022.

Police personnel outside the residence of Eknath Shinde in Thane on June 25, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The ongoing political crisis following a revolt by the ruling Shiv Sena’s second-in-command Eknath Shinde is now spilling on to the streets.

Fearing violent retaliation by Sena workers, all 38 party MLAs stationed in Guwahati wrote to Assam’s Chief Minister, Home Minister and Director General of Police on Saturday demanding police protection for their families and relatives.

The letter signed by the 38 MLAs said the security provided to them at their residences as well as to their family members as per protocol had been illegally and unlawfully withdrawn, as an act of revenge. “Needless to mention, this sinister move is another attempt to break our resolve and arm twist us to give into demands of the MVA government comprising NCP and INC goons.”

The letter comes in the wake attacks and vandalism at the offices of the rebel MLAs. In Pune, Sena workers vandalised the office of Tanaji Sawant. Another MLA Sandipan Bhumre’s office was defaced with words ‘Traitor’ written on it. In Nasik, a banner supporting Mr. Shinde was blackened, while in Mumbai MLA Mangesh Kudalkar’s office was ransacked. Another MLA Yamini Jadhav’s poster was torn. Similar actions were seen in Kharghar and Panvel areas near Mumbai.

The letter claimed that “the threats due to which we were forced to leave the State of Maharashtra have been compounded by these actions on the part of MVA leaders”. The MLAs claimed that the leaders of MVA were instigating the cadres of their parties against them.

Walse-Patil rejects charge

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil rejected Shinde group’s claim that security had been removed. “Every MLA gets police security. But since these MLAs have gone out of the State, police personnel attached to them have re-joined their original posting. But now that the demand is being made, we will provide security to the families of these MLAs.”

Considering the tense situation and possible aggressive reaction from Sena workers, the Mumbai Police on Saturday imposed Section 144 across the city, which prohibits mobilisation of five or more people at one location.

Speaking to reporters, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that people’s patience was wearing thin. “Right now Shiv Sainiks have not come out on the streets, but once they do, then it will be fire.” He said security could only be provided to the MLA and not to the family members.

Referring to the attack on his office, rebel MLA Tanaji Sawant in a Facebook post said that they were patient and following Mr. Shinde’s directions. “Once this political issue is solved, there will be tit for tat. I request you to not cross your limit,” he warned.

Mr. Shinde’s supporters have planned a meeting to reiterate their support for him in Thane, his fort.

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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 10:34:45 am |