Shiv Sena leader and MLA Pratap Sarnaik has purpotedly written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray saying that his party must join hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi again, so as to protect its leaders from harassment by central agencies.
In the letter written in Marathi, which has now gone viral, Sarnaik an MLA from Thane’s Ovala-Majiwada constituency, wrote that the Shiv Sena and the BJP must come together due to the upcoming Mumbai and Thane corporation elections.
"Several central agencies are behind me and other Shiv Sena leaders, like Anil Parab and Ravindra Waikar. They and their families are being harassed," Sarnaik wrote in the letter which reached the Chief Minister's Office on 10 June.
"If the Shiv Sena and the BJP come together again, these leaders can be spared such harassment," he wrote.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had raided several properties of the Shiv Sena MLA in connection with a money laundering case in 2020.
On 9 June, he, along with sons Vihang and Purvesh and a relative Yogesh Chandegala, filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking protection from arrest and restraining the ED from investigating the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) money laundering case, The Times of India had reported.
Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya posted the alleged letter on his official Twitter handle.
Reacting to the letter controversy, Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut told The Indian Express that, “The important part of the letter is that it highlights the fact that leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi are being unnecessarily harassed. This will have to be studied.”
Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP President Chandrakant Patil said that the party will give it a thought only if Thackeray considers it.
“Pratap Sarnaik is a Shiv Sena leader and an MLA. He has written a letter to his party chief, calling for an alliance with the BJP. The BJP leadership will consider the matter if Uddhav Thackeray also thinks along the same lines,” Patil was quoted telling The Indian Express.
The Congress will fly solo in the 2024 Maharashtra Assembly elections, Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole had announced, adding that the Congress would be the single-largest party in the 288-member Assembly.
The Shiv Sena will contest along with alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the party had said on Thursday, 17 June.