The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said it would not give up its demand for the ouster of Maharashtra Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod over the death of a woman in Pune, and criticised the State government for filing a case of corruption against the husband of its leader Chitra Wagh.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar alleged that this was politics of revenge as Ms. Wagh, vice-president of the BJP’s State unit, was vocal about Mr. Rathod’s alleged link to the woman’s death.
The Opposition party had earlier warned that it would not allow the budget session, scheduled to start from March 1, to proceed if the minister did not resign.
“We are not going to accept anything other than Mr. Rathod’s resignation. We have intensified our agitation and various cells of the party will continue protesting until we get his resignation,” State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil told reporters.
Mr. Patil also questioned the probe by the Wanwadi police in Pune into the woman’s death. “The police should make the postmortem report public. What is there to hide?” he asked.
Mr. Patil also sought to know why Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, whose party is part of the Shiv Sena-led coalition government in Maharashtra, was silent on the issue.
The woman died after falling from a building on February 8, and the Pune police said they were probing the suicide angle. Some audio clips purportedly having bearing on the case had gone viral after her death. Mr. Rathod, a Sena leader from Yavatmal, has denied having any links with the death.
Commenting on the police filing a fresh case against Chitra Wagh’s husband Kishor, Patil said, “Let the government try and scare us. We will not backtrack on our demand.” An ACB official said that enquiry against Kishor Wagh, who worked as records librarian at a hospital in Mumbai, found that 90.24 per cent of his assets were disproportionate.
The case had been registered in 2016, he said.
“When I raised voice against minister Rathod, a case was filed against my husband. But I will not keep mum till the woman gets justice,” Chitra Wagh told reporters in Nashik.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar alleged that this was politics of revenge as Chitra Wagh was vocal against Rathod.
Countering him, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant pointed out that the case against Kishor Wagh was filed by the then BJP government in 2016.
Chitra Wagh quit the NCP ahead of Assembly polls in 2019 and joined the BJP.
Meanwhile, the women’s wing of the state BJP staged demonstrations seeking Rathod’s resignation in Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad and other cities.