I-T raids: BJP trying to pressurise MVA leaders, says Shiv Sena

Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray with Deputy CM and NCP leader Ajit Pawar during a press conference in New Delhi, File photo   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had left no stone unturned to defame the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, said the ruling Shiv Sena a day after the Income Tax department’s marathon raids on several firms and offices owned by relatives and persons close to State Deputy Chief Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar.

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Launching a broadside against the BJP-ruled Centre in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena, which is allied to the NCP and Congress in the State, observed that the former had flagrantly misused agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, the I-T and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a bid to defame and destroy the MVA leadership.

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In a marathon 12-hour raid on Thursday, teams of I-T authorities had raided several businesses and offices including sugar factories in Pune, Satara, Ahmednagar, Nandurbar and Kolhapur among other places in Maharashtra. I-T teams had also searched premises of three of Ajit Pawar’s sisters in Pune and Kolhapur, as well as his son Parth Pawar’s office in Mumbai. The I-T later claimed to have detected ₹1,050 crore in allegedly illicit transactions during the raids.

“By using these central agencies in a blatantly political manner, the BJP has tried had to pressurise MVA leaders. Despite this, they have not been able to gain much mileage,” contended the editorial.

Remarking that the political climate in the country today was against the BJP, the Sena alleged that the party’s policies were fundamentally ‘anti-farmer’, while pointing to the recent Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh which had left four farmers dead.

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“As in U.P., farmers in Maharashtra, too, are anxious. They have been ravaged by excess rain and successive floods. While the Uddhav Thackeray government is trying to find a solution to give our farmers succour, the BJP, despite being the largest party in the State, is taking an anti-farmer stance…the party has forgotten how to behave in a humane manner towards farmers,” alleged the editorial.

The Sena, which was in alliance with the BJP under Devendra Fadnavis’ Chief Ministership (2014-2019), fell out with its old saffron ally over the top post after the 2019 Assembly elections. While the BJP emerged as the single-largest party, winning 105 of the 288 seats, the Sena formed a coalition with the ideologically opposed NCP and Congress to keep the BJP away from power.

Popularity debate

The editorial further claimed that the recent local bodies’ by-election results in Maharashtra was further proof of the BJP’s unpopularity.

The Sena claimed that despite the three MVA partners not fighting together in several places, the public had not voted for the BJP in these places.

It further urged the BJP to desist from beating its own drum in claiming victory in the Zilla Parishad by-polls, remarking that the saffron party was too narrow-minded to accept defeat gracefully.

In the by-election results to the 85 ZP and 144 Panchayat Samiti seats, the combined might of the tripartite MVA had overwhelmed the BJP, with the triple alliance winning on 46 ZP and 73 Panchayat Samiti seats.

However, the BJP nevertheless had emerged as the single-largest party in the ZP by-polls, winning 23 seats and the second-largest in the Panchayat Samiti bypolls, winning 33 seats.

“Instead of claiming ‘victory’ over the MVA and complaining that they were up against the combined strength of three parties, the BJP must learn to gracefully accept the fact that the public has brought them to earth by shunning them in the local bodies’ by-elections. Unfortunately, the opposition in Maharashtra, instead of essaying a constructive role, has become too narrow-minded,” said the Sena editorial.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 11:06:35 AM |

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