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Maharashtra: Adityanath and Uddhav Thackeray lock horns as race for Palghar bypoll heats up

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) brought in Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to campaign for it in Palghar, while the Shiv Sena’s chief Uddhav Thackeray addressed campaign rallies for his party.

mumbai Updated: May 24, 2018 10:46 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Palghar bypoll,Palghar,Maharashtra
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray address a rally in Nalasopara ahead of the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll, on Wednesday.(HT)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) brought in Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to campaign for it in Palghar, while the Shiv Sena’s chief Uddhav Thackeray addressed campaign rallies for his party, ahead of the Lok Sabha bye-election in the constituency on May 28.

The bye-election in Palghar, necessitated by the death of BJP’s sitting MP Chintaman Wanga, has become another flashpoint between the ruling allies, as the Sena chose to contest the polls on its own, and even fielded Wanga’s son Shrinivas as its candidate.

On Wednesday, Adityanath alleged the Sena had back-stabbed the BJP, while Thackeray said the UP CM could not win elections in his backyard and had come to campaign for his party in Maharashtra.

The BJP fielded Congress turncoat Rajendra Gavit, and is pulling out all stops to avoid another Uttar Pradesh-like defeat in Lok Sabha byelections there.

The BJP got Adityanath to address a campaign rally at Virar in a bid to woo the north Indian voter, especially migrants from UP, as many of them live in the Vasai-Virar belt of the Palghar constituency.

Launching a frontal attack on the Sena, Adityanath alleged the party had betrayed and backstabbed them by fielding Srinivas Wanga. “Some people, in the name of Shivaji Maharaj, work for Afzal Khan,” Adityanath said, hitting out at the Sena which considers the Maratha king its biggest icon.

“Today, the soul of the late Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray must be really sad looking at the back-stabbing by the party he formed. Balasaheb never back-stabbed anyone. He always led from the front against anti-national forces. But, today, the Sena is weakening his customs and traditions,” Adityanath said.

Adityanath said fielding Wanga’s son was an internal matter of the BJP, but te Sena decided to field him. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking the country ahead, but the Shiv Sena doesn’t want to see India leading the world,” he said.

The Shiv Sena chief, who started his three-day campaign tour of Palghar, hit back by targeting the UP CM during a rally at Nalasopara. “The BJP had to call outsiders to campaign and they have got Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. He could not get candidates elected from his own constituency and he is campaigning here,” Thackeray said.

He accused Adityanath of having blood on his hands, referring to the deaths of 30 children at a hospital where there was a lack of oxygen supply.

“This man could not provide oxygen to small kids, how will he provide basic facilities to the citizens of Palghar?” Thackeray said. He also accused Adityanath of insulting Shivaji Maharaj by garlanding his statue while wearing footwear.

Thackeray further said the BJP insulted the Wanga family. “They have forgotton Atalji (Atal Behari Vajpayee), then who is Wanga for them?”

Thackeray also targeted Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, saying he kept the Wanga family on tenterhooks and had decided to field Congress leader Rajendra Gavit as the candidate. “The chief minister has no moral right to accuse us of back-stabbing. When Srinivas and his family came to meet me at Matoshri on May 3, they did not ask for a Sena ticket. We decided to hold their hands as the BJP did not bother to take care of them,” Thackeray said.

Poll code violation

The Congress has asked the Election Commission to file a case of violation of the Election Code of Conduct against chief minister Fadnavis. The Congress alleged that Fadnavis, in an election speech, promised to exclude 29 villages from the Vasai-Virar Corporation and build a medical college in Palghar. State Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant said Fadnavis was misuing his position. “The CM was giving false promises and luring voters by using is position. This amounts to a violation of the Code of Conduct and the Election Commission should act against him,” said Sawant.

First Published: May 24, 2018 00:28 IST