Belagavi civic polls: Shiv Sena calls BJP celebration insult to Maratha martyrs
Terming the loss of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) in the Belagavi civic polls on Monday “unfortunate”, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut slammed the Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for celebrating the party’s victory by distributing sweets. Raut said the celebration was a betrayal of the 105 hutatma or martyrs who laid down their lives for a united Maharashtra. The BJP, meanwhile, called the win in the local body polls a victory of Hindutva and Marathi manoos.
With local body polls approaching early next year in Maharashtra, including in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Aurangabad among others, the two former allies are targeting each other on the sons of the soil issue and Hindutva agenda.
Shiv Sena had extended its support to MES candidates in the Lok Sabha bypoll held earlier this year, and also during the Belagavi municipal corporation polls--the results of which were announced on Monday. The BJP won 35 of the 58 wards in the city, relegating MES, Congress and other parties to the Opposition benches.
Raut, while speaking to reporters in Mumbai, said, “In Belagavi, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have never gone to campaign against Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti. The only exception was our old ally, Bharatiya Janata Party. Yesterday [Monday], Ekikaran Samiti lost [the polls], for which they (BJP) celebrated, distributed sweets, expressed joy. It can only be called a misfortune of the 105 hutatmas of Maharashtra that they should distribute sweets for the loss. This is against the sentiments of Maharashtra’s people.”
The Sena MP said that the loss of MES was due to the sudden announcement of the polls, leaving little time for the to campaign. He also said that the government split Marathi votes by delimitation of wards. “The loss is unfortunate and the manner in which the Karnataka government is suppressing the voices of the people in the border areas is chilling,” he said.
Attacking the BJP further, Raut said, “When the whole of Maharashtra was immersed in sorrow after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was arrested in Agra by Aurangzeb, some people here were rejoicing that Maharaj has been captured. Similar joy was seen on the faces of the ones who were distributed sweets.”
Responding to the attack, BJP legislator and vice-president of the party Prasad Lad said, “I wish to ask Sanjay Raut that weren’t they ashamed to distribute sweets after joining hands with Congress, which had stood against Hindutva and Marathi manoos? The victory in Belagavi is a win for Hindutva and Marathi manoos. Raut saheb should bear in mind that BJP will never forget Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s saffron flag and the unity of Marathi manoos.”