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Facing ED probe, Sena MLA urges return to NDA fold

Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik. File   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Alleging that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress were trying to weaken the Shiv Sena, the party’s Thane MLA Pratap Sarnaik has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to join hands once again with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. Mr. Sarnaik is currently facing an Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe in connection with the NSEL scam.

“For the past two-and-a-half years, you [Mr. Thackeray] have been successfully and commendably holding the reins of office, helping tide the State over the lethal pandemic crisis. Your leadership as well as the ‘Maharashtra Model’ for combating the COVID-19 contagion has received wide acclaim… however, there is tremendous resentment within Sena leaders and party workers. They are questioning whether we severed ties with the BJP to form the MVA in order to strengthen the NCP and the Congress?” said Mr. Sarnaik, in his letter.

The MLA from Thane’s Ovala-Majiwada constituency further claimed that Sena leaders had complained to him that despite the Chief Minister’s post being with the saffron party, NCP and Congress MLAs were receiving funds smoothly and were able to get work done in their respective constituencies unlike Sena legislators, who reportedly faced obstacles.

“The Congress is talking of contesting polls alone… the NCP, instead of breaking the opposition, is trying to poach leaders from the Shiv Sena and weaken it,” alleged Mr. Sarnaik.

He further remarked that Central agencies were repeatedly targeting Sena leaders like him and others for no fault of theirs.

“While we have complete faith in your [Mr. Thackeray’s] leadership and while you are doing full justice to your position, in the present circumstances, with NCP-Congress attempting to weaken the Sena, it would be better if you [Mr. Thackeray] formed an alliance with Mr. Modi… It would also give relief to Sena leaders like Ravindra Waikar, Anil Parab and myself, who are being harassed by Central agencies,” Mr. Sarnaik said in his letter to the Chief Minister.

He urged Mr. Thackeray to join hands with the BJP before the start of the crucial civic body polls to the Mumbai, Thane and other municipal corporations due next year.

Refraining from elaborating on Mr. Sarnaik’s letter, Sena MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut merely said, “What is the point in reacting to Sarnaik's letter? But the important thing is that he is complaining of harassment in his letter. So, the question is who is harassing him?”

On the other hand, BJP leader of Opposition Pravin Darekar said Mr. Sarnaik’s letter was evidence of frustration that had been steadily building up within Sena leaders and workers ever since the MVA came into being.

“Ever since the Sena allied itself with the NCP and the Congress to form the MVA alliance, the party and its workers have been systematically suppressed. Mr. Sarnaik’s letter has brought all this into sharp relief. While the NCP’s MLAs gets their funds on time, the Sena legislators are given step-motherly treatment,” he alleged.

Mr. Darekar refuted suggestions that the BJP was ‘pressurizing’ Mr. Sarnaik to force the Chief Minister to break-off ties with the Congress and the NCP by putting central agencies behind Sena leaders.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 6:37:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/facing-ed-probe-sena-mla-urges-return-to-nda-fold/article34866668.ece

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