Going by their reputation, the Shiv Sainiks have begun using street and muscle power to intimidate MLAs who have defected from the Uddhav Thackeray camp to support the ‘rebel’ Eknath Shinde group. The Uddhav Thackeray supporters have been vandalising offices and defacing posters of the ‘rebel’ MLAs for the past two days as they run riot across the streets of Maharashtra.
However, rather than denouncing this thuggish behaviour, a ‘journalist’ affiliated with the leftist propaganda news website ‘The Print’ went on to publicly sympathise with the Shiv Sena goons.
According to ANI, Shiv Sena goons today (June 25) vandalised the office of the party’s MLA Tanaji Sawant in the Balaji Nagar area of Katraj, Pune. Sawant is one of the dissenting MLAs from the state who is currently camping in Guwahati, Assam, along with other MLAs who have sided with Eknath Shinde.
#WATCH | Shiv Sena workers vandalise office of the party’s MLA Tanaji Sawant in Balaji area of Katraj, Pune. Sawant is one of the rebel MLAs from the state and is currently camping in Guwahati, Assam. #MaharashtraPoliticalCrisis pic.twitter.com/LXRSLPxYJC— ANI (@ANI) June 25, 2022
In the video shared by the news agency ANI, Shiv Sena goons can be seen charging Tanaji Swant’s office while brandishing rods, batons, and the party’s saffron flag. They vandalise the walls outside the office with graffiti and breaking the window panes. The Shiv Saniks then barge into the office and vandalise it, shouting slogans against Sawant. They then bring out a poster of the party founder Balasaheb Thackeray that was kept in the MLA’s office and wave it in the air, raising slogans in support of Uddhav Thackeray.
Justifying the act, Sanjay More, Shiv Sena’s Pune head threatened the other dissenting MLAs, “Our party worker vandalised Tanaji Sawant’s office. All traitors and rebel MLAs who have troubled our chief Uddhav Thackeray will face this type of action. Their office will also be attacked… No one will be spared.”
Our party worker vandalised Tanaji Sawant’s office. All traitors and rebel MLAs who have troubled our chief Uddhav Thackeray will face this type of action. Their office will also be attacked… No one will be spared: Sanjay More, Pune city head, Shiv Sena— ANI (@ANI) June 25, 2022
Yesterday (June 24) too, Shiv Sena goons vandalized the board outside the office of Mangesh Kudalkar, who is one of the rebel MLAs of Shiv Sena currently in Assam. Shiv Sainiks in Nashik were also seen throwing eggs and black ink on the posters displaying rebel leader Eknath Shinde. A few more Shiv Sainiks gathered in the Chuna Bhatti area of Mumbai and raised slogans against Mangesh Kudalkar.
Dilip Lande, another Shiv Sena MLA representing the Chandivali constituency in Mumbai also faced the ire of Shiv Sainiks. In Chandivali, they destroyed banners and posters of MLA Dilip Lande. Somnath Sangle, a former corporator of Shiv Sena took some Shiv Sainiks with him to Sakinaka to vandalize Dilip Lande’s banners put up in that area.
While the Shiv Sainiks continue to resort to hooliganism and vandalism to intimidate the MLAs, Hemant Desai, a senior ‘journalist’ working for The Print openly expressed his sympathy for these goons on a debate program hosted by India TV.
In a snippet of the program shared on Twitter by popular user Amit Thadani, The Print ‘journalist’ is heard saying that the Shiv Sainiks have been left with no other option but to resort to violence. Hemant Desai is heard saying that he doubts that the Shiv Sena workers have resorted to hooliganism in multiple places. He said that as far as his knowledge goes Shiv Sainiks have resorted to vandalism only in Kurla.
Desai continued, “The latest hooliganism as compared to their former stance is insignificant. The level of the uproar that the Shiv Sainiks resorted to earlier was considerably more extreme.”
“There have been fewer instances of hooliganism under Uddhav Ji’s leadership, and the Shiv Sena is far more moderate than it once was”, The Print writer expressed his sincerest sympathy with the Shiv Sena supremo and his henchmen, adding that although Aditya Thackeray is likewise opposed to violence, they currently have little choice but to take a slightly aggressive attitude.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut threatens rebel MLAs with violence
Notably, until yesterday, Rajya Sabha MP and Uddhav Thackeray loyalist Sanjay Raut was issuing implicit threats of violence to the party MLAs who have joined Eknath Shinde’s rebel camp.
Speaking to ANI on Friday, Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Raut said, “The (Eknath Shinde) faction that’s challenging us must realise that Shiv Sena workers are yet to come on the roads. Such battles are fought either through law or on the roads. If need be then our workers would come on the roads.”
Similarly on Thursday, while speaking to NDTV, Sanjay Raut had directly threatened the rebel MLAs with street violence. When questioned about whether or not Uddhav Thackeray will stay as the chief minister, he stated, “Let all the MLAs come to the floor of the House. We will see then. These MLAs who have left will ultimately have to come back to Maharashtra. They will find it difficult to return and move around in Maharashtra.”
Meanwhile, rebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde informed that he has the support of 50 MLAs, which is enough to oust the Maha Vikas Aghadi government from power.
He made the revelations during an exclusive telephonic conversation with TV9 Marathi. Shinde confirmed that about 40 of the MLAs are from Shiv Sena. It implies that the rebel leader has the numbers to bypass disciplinary action under the anti-defection law.
Apart from the Shiv Sena MLAs, about 60 Members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) from Maharashtra are also set to join Eknath Shinde’s rebel camp.