After Uddhav’s warning to Rahul over anti-Savarkar remarks, Raut meets Congress leader, says ‘everything fine’  

Ruling out suggestions of any rift in opposition unity among the three Maha Vikas Aghadi parties in Maharashtra, Raut further said that the Sena (UBT) stood ‘firmly united’

March 29, 2023 09:24 pm | Updated 09:24 pm IST - Pune

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Sanjay Raut. File.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Sanjay Raut. File. | Photo Credit: ANI

After Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray warned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi against “insulting” Hindutva ideologue V. D. Savarkar, Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut on March 29 said that he had spoken with Mr. Gandhi, that the issue had been sorted out, and that everything was “fine” between the two parties.

Ruling out suggestions of any rift in opposition unity among the three Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) parties in Maharashtra, Mr. Raut further said that the Sena (UBT) stood “firmly united” with the Opposition parties in their fight against the BJP and the Narendra Modi government at the national level as well.

Mr. Thackeray, at his rally in Nashik’s Malegaon last week, had rebuked Mr. Gandhi for his anti-Savarkar statements while remarking that the Sena (UBT) regarded Savarkar as “a deity” and would “not tolerate any insult” against him, sparking a buzz about a fresh rift within the opposition MVA.  

“While it is true that we did not attend the opposition meeting at the residence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge [on Monday this week], we will certainly attend the meeting today and participate in protests against the disqualification of Mr. Gandhi from the Lok Sabha… whatever internal issues we had with the Congress have been resolved. Opposition unity in the State and country will endure. We [Sena (UBT)] give importance to opposition unity, be it within the MVA in Maharashtra and on the national stage as well,” Mr. Raut said, speaking in Delhi.

Earlier, Mr. Raut met with former Congress presidents Sonia Gandhi, and Mr. Rahul Gandhi, after which the Sena (UBT) leader tweeted that they discussed “many important issues” and that “everything is fine” between them (the Congress and Mr. Thackeray’s Sena faction).

“I met Rahul-ji and Sonia-ji. We had a discussion for about 45 minutes over several issues of the country and mostly on the issues related to Maharashtra. I had spoken with Mr. Gandhi over phone on Tuesday and it was decided to meet today. I did not know that Soniaji would also be there… It was a good meeting,” Mr. Raut said on Wednesday afternoon.

The Uddhav camp loyalist, who is the bete noire of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena group, is known for his affinity to Mr. Gandhi and had joined the latter’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Kashmir earlier this year.

Soon after Uddhav Thackeray’s ‘warning’ to Mr. Gandhi, Mr. Raut, too, had followed suit, criticising Mr. Gandhi’s anti-Savarkar remark as “improper” while stating Maharashtra would never accept any insult to Savarkar, and that it was not right “to throw mud on this great man”.

The ruling Shinde-BJP alliance has, however, criticised Mr. Thackeray’s ‘warning’ to Mr. Gandhi’s as a “a got-up game” between the MVA allies (Congress and the Shiv Sena-UBT), which reeked of “double-standards and hypocrisy”.

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