With the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government nearing its first anniversary on November 28, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut taunted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to forget about their “Operation Lotus” to destabilise the three-party alliance government and instead work with them for the people of the state. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress are the other two parties along with Sena that form the MVA.
Raut also hit back at BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who has levelled a series of allegations against the Thackerays in the past few days, saying the latter is not taken seriously by his own party and if the “Sena starts digging old graves, it will unearth skeletons of corruption”.
“I don’t think his [Somaiya] party also takes whatever he does seriously. But opposition must criticise. We want a strong opposition party in the state. Those who know Uddhav Thackeray and knew Balasaheb Thackeray will definitely tell you that we never stifle or suppress the opposition like it is done in other states and by the Centre. He must stop levelling false allegations. If they want to dig old graves, even we can do that. But our outlook is to forget the past and move on. If we keep digging graves, we will find the skeletons of your corruption,” said Raut.
BJP was quick to respond to Raut’s jibe, with party leader Pravin Darekar saying the Sena leader should not dare them to open their mouths. “Such language of digging graves is not appropriate. Nobody should challenge in this manner. Even we can talk in the manner Sanjay Raut talks,” said Darekar.
Speaking to the media on eve of Diwali, Raut said the Thackeray government faced several challenges, both natural and man-made, during its first year, but chief minister Uddhav Thackeray crossed the hurdles.
“Several unholy attempts were made to destabilise the government, but none were successful… Nobody in the state has any doubt that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government will complete its full term and that he will remain the chief minister,” said the Sena MP.
However, Darekar, the leader of opposition in the legislative council, slammed the Sena-led government over its performance in the first year. “Sanjay Raut said they have completed a year, but what have they done. They have not fulfilled the word given to the farmers… They have not been able to control Covid-19,” said Darekar. “Who talked about Operation Lotus? BJP never spoke. They fear that their government will collapse but they are challenging us to do so.”
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