The Shiv Sena, which is reaching out to farmers in drought-affected areas of Maharashtra, found themselves amid a controversy on Friday after a Sena MLA allegedly sent another person as his proxy to address farmers in his constituency.
Sena MLA Gautam Chabukswar from Pimpri in Osmanabad district sent former Mumbai corporator Yashodhar Phanse to visit a drought-hit village in his constituency on Friday. Phanse was allegedly introduced as Chabukswar at the meeting under the party’s ‘shiv sampark abhiyan’. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had launched the campaign recently and directed party MLAs to visit drought-hit areas in the state.
Following the incident, senior Sena leaders termed it as “one person’s mistake” and not as an embarrassment for the party. Sena MP Arvind Sawant from south Mumbai called it a “non-issue” and said that the media was blowing it out of proportion. “Has this issue caused any harm or damage to the country or the poor people? A person made a mistake and the party leadership will look into it,” Sawant told HT.
The Opposition, meanwhile, slammed Sena over the matter. Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan slammed the BJP and the Sena over their “lackadaisical” approach towards farmers’ problems. “It is shocking that the MLA sent an impersonator. Sena needs to look into the matter but the ethics committee should also hold an enquiry because this is a serious issue,” Chavan said. He added that the BJP and the Sena are hardly bothered about problems faced by farmers and organised their yatra to counter the Opposition’s ‘sangharsh yatra’.