The debate over statehood for the Marathwada region continued to stoke trouble between allies Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena, this time in Nashik.
The Sena slammed its partner, even challenging chief minister Devendra Fadnavis after police arrested Sena workers in Nashik, who were protesting the remarks by State Women’s Commission chief Vijaya Rahatkar for backing statehood for Marathwada.
The Sena slammed the Nashik police’s decision to arrest its workers for charges of robbery, with Sena leader and cabinet minister Eknath Shinde saying that the police action amounted to muzzling voices, likening the situation to the Emergency.
Sewri Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhary, who visited Nashik too, called the BJP “barking dogs”. The tussle between the two is part of last week’s controversy over former advocate general Shreehari Aney’s remarks calling for statehood for Marathwada region.
The remarks had incensed the Sena, which then threatened to boycott cabinet meetings, forcing Aney to quit his post.
Rahatkar backed Aney at a BJP women’s wing event in Nashik, inviting ire from a large number of Sena workers who entered the venue and started protesting. The BJP workers had claimed there had been a theft of ornaments and valuables at the event, after the protest, leading the police to book a few Sena workers for dacoity.
Quick to hit back, the Sena’s editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna slammed Fadnavis, also the state’s home minister and asked him why he wasn’t as prompt in booking ABVP activists alleged to have assaulted NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad.
“Those who indulge in violence at Fergusson are allowed to go scot-free, while Shiv Sena workers who protested against a BJP woman for her anti-Maharashtra remarks are sent to jail. Cases of rioting and robbery were slapped against these (Sena) activists. For this, the home minister was pulling the strings,” the mouthpiece said.
Chaudhary, speaking in Nashik, said, “They (the BJP) are like barking dogs, who never bite. They are high on power right now. What is unfortunate is that they have two separate sets of law, one for their own workers and another for the rest,” he said.