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Shiv Sena praises CM Devendra Fadnavis for not allowing tainted leaders into BJP

By Swapnil Rawal, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 09, 2020 01:18 AM IST

The Shiv Sena on Friday lauded chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis’s decision to keep leaders who are facing serious charges, like Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Chhagan Bhujbal, away from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), at a time when speculation about Bhujbal joining the Sena is rife.

After four sitting Opposition legislators joined the BJP earlier in the week, Fadnavis said there is no vacancy in the party and assured that leaders who are under the scanner of investigating agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will not be inducted in the BJP.

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An editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana lauded Fadnavis for keeping “righteousness” intact in politics. “There are many unavoidable things in politics; such decisions have to be taken. Fadnavis has kept himself away from this. The chief minister has closed the doors for leaders like Bhujbal by making a statement that those facing charges by ED or such agencies will not be inducted in the BJP,” the editorial said.

Bhujbal, who was Maharashtra’s former deputy CM between 2008 and 2010, was being probed by the anti-corruption bureau and ED in money laundering cases. There were speculations that Bhujbal, who started his political career with the Sena, could be on his way back to the party with his son, Pankaj.

These speculations have created unease within Sena’s top leaders who are opposed to the idea of Bhujbal re-entering the party.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, meanwhile, has assured party workers from Nashik — from where Bhujbal hails — that Bhujbal will not enter the Sena. Bhujbal too has refuted the rumours of joining the Sena. The editorial could put the Sena chief in a tight spot if any back-channel discussions of inducting Bhujbal are happening between them. Saamana executive editor Sanjay Raut, according to party insiders, is one of the leaders opposed to Bhujbal’s re-entry in the Sena.

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