A day after the Shiv Sena pulled off a thumping victory in the Bandra (East) by-poll, the political scenario was thick with heated exchanges, allegations and rumours of infighting.
It began with a Saamana editorial taking jibes at Congress’ Narayan Rane for challenging them.
The editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana, seen as the views of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, said the “dedication of Sainiks is so strong that it has the capacity of defeating a hundred Ranes”.
“It is not easy to challenge Shiv Sena. It is a party of dedicated people… By pitching Rane against Bala Sawant’s wife, Congress ensured that its own vastraharan took place [the Congress was stripped],” the editorial said.
It added that the “traitor who backstabbed late Sena chief Bal Thackeray lost the Konkan Assembly election by 10,000 votes”. The difference in the Bandra by-poll was 20,000, the editorial said. “We are sure this gap will be 30,000 the next time he challenges us,” it said.
Meanwhile, Sena’s Konkan MP, Vinayak Raut, claimed that Rane and MNS chief Raj Thackeray -- while still a part of the Sena -- had conspired to quit together.
“Everyone in the Sena knew that Rane and Raj were in talks and were planning to quit together. This was the same time when Uddhavji was given charge of the party, which did not go down well with Rane, who then decided to revolt. He then suddenly joined the Congress,” said Raut, who defeated Nilesh Rane, former MP of Konkan and elder son of Rane, in the 2014 parliamentary elections.
On the other hand, allegations of infighting were doing the rounds in the Congress camp. An editorial that appeared in Prahaar newspaper, of which Rane is the editor, has alleged an internal sabotage led to the defeat of Rane.
“Even if the higher-ups wanted Rane as the candidate, did he get the same acceptance internally is a debatable question. His defeat was not only because of the Sena-BJP, but also because of people within the Congress who did not want him to reach the Vidhan Sabha,” the editorial said. It added that while it appeared that all Congress leaders were present together in the rallies, some were only physically present and were not as supportive.