According to NCP leaders, Sharad Pawar was more upset with the crowding and show of strength at the Poharadevi temple in Washim during Sanjay Rathod’s visit. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
According to NCP leaders, Sharad Pawar was more upset with the crowding and show of strength at the Poharadevi temple in Washim during Sanjay Rathod’s visit. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

CM Uddhav Thackeray under pressure to act against Maharashtra minister

Raut says CM mulling action against Sanjay Rathod, who is in controversy over death of woman, over flouting of Covid norms during his show of strength
By Swapnil Rawal and Surendra P Gangan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:08 AM IST

A day after Shiv Sena minister Sanjay Rathod, who is mired in controversy surrounding the death of a 22-year-old woman, emerged in public view after a fortnight in Washim district and attempted a show of strength, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is under pressure to act against the party minister.

The leader of the Banjara community emerged at the community’s Pohradevi temple in Washim district on Tuesday. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is reportedly displeased with the entire episode.

Sena leader and its chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut on Wednesday indicated that the chief minister was considering if any action should be taken against the minister, although the reason cited was flouting Covid-19 norms. Rathod attended the state cabinet meeting and later was summoned by Thackeray to Varsha, the CM’s official residence. Party insiders present at Varsha, however, said there was no discussion on Rathod’s controversy.

Speaking to reporters, Raut said, “I don’t know if Pawar saheb is upset with the issue… The chief minister of Maharashtra has already ordered action in the case of flouting of rules where thousands had gathered. The CM is strict with regards to law and rules. He would not spare even if it is one of his own. If somebody has flouted the rules, the law will take its course.”

According to NCP leaders, Pawar was more upset with the crowding and show of strength at the Poharadevi temple in Washim during Rathod’s visit. “I am not aware if Pawarsaheb expressed his displeasure over the episode, but the chief minister has already ordered action for the crowding at Poharadevi temple. Rathod has resumed his official work. He will represent his department in the budget session starting from Monday,” said NCP leader and minority minister Nawab Malik.

Congress leaders, too, have expressed their displeasure over the entire episode, but have tried to maintain distance from it, saying it is an internal matter of the Shiv Sena.

“We do not want to be associated with such matters, as our party has no tolerance for such cases. This has been second such case after Dhananjay Munde’s controversy over allegations by a woman,” said a Congress leader.

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