Union minister Narayan Rane on Thursday, 23 June, took on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, alleging that the latter was threatening rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, and said if anything happened to them in the Maharashtra Assembly, there will be consequences.
Earlier in the day, Pawar had said that the rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde who are camping in Guwahati will have to come to the Maharashtra Assembly eventually, and the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will win a trust vote despite the rebellion.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Raut slammed Union Minister Narayan Rane for allegedly issuing "threats" to Pawar and said, “Some people have garnered guts to issue threats to Sharad Pawar. PM Modi and Amit Shah must take note of this.”
What Did Rane Say?
Rane, in a series of tweets in Marathi on Thursday, said, “Sharad Pawar is threatening the (rebel) MLAs that they should come to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. They will definitely come and vote as per their will. If any harm comes to them, it will be difficult to go home.”
“The MVA was formed to serve personal interests. Nobody should boast about its work," said Rane, a former Shiv Sena leader who quit and joined the Congress in 2005 and later crossed over to the BJP.
Without naming Pawar, he said, “There are some people who have a long history of rebelling from time to time. It is unbecoming (for such people) to issue unwarranted threats at an unsuitable age.”
Pawar had formed the NCP in 1999 after quitting Congress. He had quit Congress earlier too but had returned.
Rane, meanwhile, also said that Eknath Shinde was his "old colleague and a friend." Going by the number of MLAs Shinde has with him, the "roadshow organised by the Chief Minister" (Uddhav Thackeray) on Wednesday evening was nothing but "cowardice and selfishness,” the BJP leader said.
Taking to Twitter, Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut slammed Union Minister Narayan Rane and said that "Threats against Sharad Pawar would not be tolerated."
"If this is the BJP's stand, they must say so openly and make it official. The government might stay or fall, but Maharashtra won't tolerate such threats against Sharad Pawar," he said.
Commenting on Raut's claims, MoS Railways and BJP leader Raosaheb Patil Danve stated, "No Central minister is giving threats. BJP is not trying to destabilise the government. This is an internal matter of the Shiv Sena. BJP is only in wait and watch position."
'Battle Has Turned Into a Legal and Legislative One Now': Raut
Speaking to the media, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that the battle for Maharashtra has turned into a legal and legislative one.
Admitting that the Thackeray camp has lost the majority, Raut said: "Yes, the Sena's numbers have reduced, this is a democracy, but mandate and majority are volatile concepts."
"The battle has transformed into a legal and legislative one now. We are seeking action against 12 of them," he added.
Raut further said that the day the MLAs return to Maharashtra, their real test of loyalty will begin.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)