Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut has been working round the clock acting as a plaster to fill the widening gap in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Raut in the editorial published in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana, heaped praises for Maharashtra Congress Chief Nana Patole after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar called him a “small leader.”
Nana Patole’s controversial statement
It all started with Nana Patole’s controversial statement where he claimed that he was put under surveillance by the chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray and deputy CM Ajit Pawar, and that his movements and chats were being closely watched.
Patole had made the statement at a party meeting on Saturday. The clip was made viral on social media, thereby attracting strong reactions from Congress’ allies NCP and Shiv Sena and even from within the party.
Not just this, but as per reports Patole also said that Pune was being neglected as all funds are being diverted to Ajit Pawar’s constituency Baramati. He further said that both NCP and Sena backstab Congress when it comes to allocating development funds for the bodies controlled by it.
This naturally raked up a controversy in the MVA with Patole now claiming that he in his speech had attacked the BJP. Patole said that his statement has been misconstrued and that he will issue a clarification once he is back in Mumbai.
Pawar calls Patole a “small leader”
Irked by Patole’s allegations, NCP leader Sharad Pawar called Patole “a small leader whose comments do not warrant a response,” when asked to comment on the controversy.
This is not the first time that Patole misfired statements creating a rift in the coalition.
Sanjay Raut does damage control
Coming out in Patole’s defence, Raut in his editorial piece in Saamana started off by saying that at times politicians do make comments that are used for creating farce controversy. Raut blamed the Bhartiya Janta Party which is in the opposition in Maharashtra for creating the ‘cracks in MVA’ narrative.
Praising Patole for reviving Congress in Maharashtra, Raut called him a ‘Sanjeevani.’
“He took up the responsibility of giving a boost to the Maharashtra Congress and ensure that Congress comes to power on its own. That’s why I must commend his courage. Nana Patole is going to revitalize Congress and take it forward because he has a magic herb or knowledge. Has he given information about this magic herb to either Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi?” penned Raut in his editorial taking a jibe at the Congress leadership.
He also said that Pawar’s sarcastic take on Patole shows nothing but how even a small leader can be efficient in reviving a national political party like Congress. He also credited Patole for resurrecting Congress in Maharashtra and once again expressed concerns over Congress’s back-to-back failures in state assembly elections.
After positioning Patole as a ‘tall leader’, Raut slyly also sided Pawar. “Sharad Pawar’s statement that we run the government together and not the parties is correct. The fate of the Maharashtra government does not depend on what Nana says. This government is running on the desire of Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi.” he added.
Congress leaders rush to meet Sharad Pawar
Congress leaders like HK Patil, Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat rushed to meet Pawar at his residence. As per reports, Patole was deliberately kept away from the meeting. While Congress claimed it to be a courtesy meeting, reports allege that it was to address the fresh controversy.
Patole and other Congress leaders claim ‘the attack was on BJP’
Patole alleged that he was misquoted, and only a selective portion of his video was made viral in a conspiracy to defame the party.
Maharashtra in-charge HK Patil in an attempt to water down the situation also claimed, “A wrong statement leads to disturbance within the ruling alliance, but Patole’s statement was mispresented in the media. He was speaking about the Central government and he himself has clarified it.”
Meanwhile, the Congress leadership has taken cognizance of Patole’s repeated controversial statements, thereby causing irreparable damage to the reputation of the MVA.