Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday alleged that the BJP has made Eknath Shinde the chief minister of Maharashtra to wrest Mumbai from the Shiv Sena of Bal Thackeray. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who stepped down as the chief minister on June 29 following a rebellion by Shinde, removed the latter from the post of 'Shiv Sena leader', accusing him of "indulging in anti-party activities". Shinde on Thursday took oath as the chief minister, while BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as his deputy.
Talking to reporters here, Raut said, "Uddhav Thackeray made it clear yesterday that Shinde doesn't belong to Shiv Sena. It is now clear that Shinde has been used to defeat Shiv Sena in Mumbai, where civic polls will be held later this year." Shiv Sena has ruled the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for over two decades. Raut further said that the Congress was split several times, but the Congress of Indira Gandhi still survives. "Similarly, Shiv Sena is where Thackeray is," he said.
The Sena MP said Fadnavis needs to be appreciated for taking up the deputy chief minister's post as Shinde was a junior minister in his government earlier, and added that discipline is maintained and orders are obeyed in BJP. Raut, who appeared before the ED on Friday in connection with a money laundering probe, said he told the central agency officials that he was ready to respond to any questions asked by them. "The ED grilled me for 10 hours. They treated me well. I told them if any more information is required, I would submit. There is no need to fear as I haven't done anything wrong. Truth is with me," he said.
As member of Parliament, it was my duty to appear before the investigating agency if they require any information. I have no connection with the case they are investigating, he said. The ED had summoned the Rajya Sabha member for questioning in the money laundering probe linked to the re-development of a Mumbai 'chawl' (tenement) and related financial transactions involving his wife and friends.
(With PTI Inputs)