NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Cabinet Minister Balasaheb Thorat, and Chief of Shetkari Kamagr party Jayant Patil waving the gathering of over 6,000 farmers from across 21 districts of Maharashtra for a three-day sit-in at Azad Maidan in solidarity with protesting farmers at the Delhi border against farm laws, in Mumbai on Monday. (ANI Photo)
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Cabinet Minister Balasaheb Thorat, and Chief of Shetkari Kamagr party Jayant Patil waving the gathering of over 6,000 farmers from across 21 districts of Maharashtra for a three-day sit-in at Azad Maidan in solidarity with protesting farmers at the Delhi border against farm laws, in Mumbai on Monday. (ANI Photo)

No senior Shiv Sena leader at farmers’ rally in Mumbai

  • The Shiv Sena sent a youth wing functionary as the party's representative at the farmers' rally where senior leaders of the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Agahdi (MVA) including Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat were present
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:54 PM IST

Even as senior leaders of prominent political parties joined the gathering of farmers' in Mumbai's Azad Maidan on Monday, the Shiv Sena sent a youth wing functionary as the party's representative.

While senior leaders of the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Agahdi (MVA) including Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, the Sena sent Rahul Londhe, its youth wing functionary to the farmers’ rally

The Sena has backed the farmers' protests in New Delhi for the past two months. The ruling party in Maharashtra also supported the farmer's march from Nashik and other parts of the State to Mumbai to protest against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws. However, when it came to showing physical presence on Monday, it failed do so.

According to Ajit Nawale, Maharashtra general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray was expected to be present at the public meeting. Instead, he was in Kalyan, about 60 km from Mumbai's Azad Maidan, to inaugurate a railway over bridge. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the over bridge via video conferencing from Matoshree, his private residence in Bandra east.

Following the inauguration, Aaditya Thackeray clarified that the Shiv Sena stands fully in support of the farmers. He said that the media should question Centre on why it was not agreeing to the demands of the farmers who have been protesting for the past 60 days.

"Instead of seeing who went (to the protest site), I think one should look at if the Centre has paid heed to the demands From the Maharasthra Vikas Aghadi, Pawar saheb is indeed leading it, chief minister is speaking on it, I appeal to all the people that masking is important at such protests and rallies. These are Covid times. Shiv Sena is fully supporting the farmers. But the important thing is that even after 60 days the Union government has not yielded to the demands of the farmers. You (media) should ask these questions," Thackeray told reporters when questioned why no party leader was present at the public meeting.

Sena leader Sanjay Raut was unavailable for comment despite several attempts. Sena MP and spokesperson Arvind Sawant said that he was out of Mumbai and unaware of the happenings in the city.

The Sena's stand was inconsistent when the three farm bills were passed in the Parliament The party which has 18 MPs in Lok Sabha, had backed the bills but it walked out of the Rajya Sabha during voting in the Upper House The Congress and NCP, its allies in Maharashtra, had opposed the Bills in both the Houses.

"Shiv Sena doesn't have any cohesive thinking on economic policy or on agriculture or industries. They only make general statements and this has been since the times of Bal Thackeray. I do not think they understand the seriousness of the issue. It must be embarrassing for the party naturally, but it will not create any fissures in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi," said political analyst Prakash Bal.

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