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Palghar bypoll: Sena hits back at Fadnavis, says calling Gavit Wanga’s political heir is betrayal

Sena takes on CM Devendra Fadnavis in Saamana for accusing it of betrayal, slams BJP for fielding former Congress leader Rajendra Gavit

mumbai Updated: May 22, 2018 16:32 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra,Palghar bypoll,Shiv Sena
This is the first time that the Shiv Sena has fielded a candidate for a seat held by its ally.(HT File Photo)

Two days after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis accused the Shiv Sena of betrayal for fielding Sriniwas Wanga, son of late Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Chintaman Wanga in the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll, the Sena on Tuesday hit back saying that roping in the turncoat Rajendra Gavit and calling him the former MP’s “political heir” is a betrayal of Wanga’s legacy.

Gavit was a Congress leader and used to be a minister in the Maharashtra government before joining the BJP earlier this month.

The allies in the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre are contesting against each other in the Palghar bypoll, necessitated Wanga’s death in January.This is the first time the Sena has fielded a candidate for a seat held by its ally, and Palghar has now become a prestige battle for both parties.

At a rally on Sunday, Fadnavis said he had told Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that the BJP was planning to give a ticket to a member of Wanga’s family for the bypoll. “Our ally [on the one hand) was welcoming our decision to give a ticket to the Wanga family and, on the other hand, was hatching a conspiracy,” the CM alleged.

Retaliating in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena said: “Wanga’s legacy was his Hindutva ideology, but to import a turncoat leader like Rajendra Gavit and call him Wanga’s political heir at rallies is what is betrayal, sir.”

The editorial alleged that after Wanga’s death, the BJP abandoned his family, though the late MP had worked towards spreading the work of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) among the tribal population in Thane and Palghar. “He was loyal to the BJP till death. But after his death, his loyalty did not matter to the BJP, and his family was abandoned. It’s then that the family joined the Sena. If the CM finds this betrayal, then the Marathi dictionary will have to be rewritten,” the Marathi daily said.

The editorial alleged that the BJP leadership did not bother to pay respects to the MP after his death. “Let alone the CM, even the local BJP and RSS leaders did not visit his family. Wanga died in Delhi, where his house was five minutes away from the BJP headquarters; BJP national president Amitbhai’s [Amit Shah] house was three minutes away. But nobody went to his house to pay their respects,” the editorial said.

The Sena said it is confident of winning the by-election, which is slated for May 28. The results will be declared on May 31.

First Published: May 22, 2018 16:31 IST