High drama as BJP, Shiv Sena workers clash, hold protests
Geetanjali Minhas | August 24, 2021 | Mumbai
Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Narayan Rane’s remark on Monday, that he would have given a ‘tight slap’ to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for not remembering the count of Independence Day in his speech on August 15, triggered a war between the Shiv Sena and BJP, leading to his arrest on Tuesday.
The arrest has been made by Nashik city police. District magistrate BN Patil said Rane was detained by the Ratnagiri police after all legal options were exhausted. Rane was arrested at Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri by a Nashik city police team that had left in the morning. He will be taken back to Nashik city.
The BJP leader, who was earlier with Shiv Sena, made his comment during his party’s Jan Ashirward Yatra at Raigadh district. He said that Thackeray had to check the year of Independence midway with his aides. Two FIRs have been filed against Rane in Pune and Mahad and complaints filed in Nashik, Thane and Pune.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena workers protested outside Rane’s residence, Aadish Bungalow on Juhu Tara Road in Mumbai, where Rane’s supporters as well as Shiv Sena members clashed and stone-pelting was also reported. Two people were injured in the incident. Sena members threw black ink and eggs at Rane’s house and took to the streets to protest against Rane in Malad East. The police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.
Protests were also reported in Pune and Nagpur where Sena supporters destroyed posters of Rane. As per reports from Amravati city, Sena workers vandalised the BJP office located in the Rajapeth area.
Earlier in the day, Rane had warned the media against speculating about his ‘imminent’ arrest. “I urge the media to verify the news or else I will file a case for speculation based news. Do you think I am a normal (ordinary) person?” he said.
Rane, who was on his Jan Ashirwad Yatra touring Chiplun in Ratnagiri district earlier on Tuesday, said he did not regret making the controversial remarks about CM Thackeray. “I have not committed any crime. Why should I regret it?”
Irked, Shiv Sena workers put posters in Mumbai and other places calling him ‘Kamdi Chor’(chicken stealer) with reference to a poultry shop Rane ran in Chembur area of Mumbai five decades ago and during his early years in the Bal Thackeray-led party.
Rane also approached the Bombay High Court seeking to quash multiple FIRs registered against him after the controversy broke out. Before the division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice NJ Jamadar, Rane submitted that action on the basis of the FIR was being taken against him in an arbitrary manner when a formal notice under Section 41A (notice for appearance before police officer) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was not issued against him. His advocate submitted that the action by Sangameshwar Police, Ratnagiri district is illegal.
The bench however said that the petitioner was required to follow proper procedure under law to get the matter listed for hearing. The matter would be heard in the high court in due course.
Rane entered the Maharashtra assembly as a Sena MLA in 1990. In February 1999 he was sworn in as the state’s 13th chief minister but a year later Shiv Sena-BJP alliance lost the assembly elections. In 2005, after irreconcilable differences with the Thackeray family, Rane left the Shiv Sena, and joined the ruling Congress. He was made the revenue minister, but quit the party in 2017, disgruntled that it did not give him the assured top position in the promised six months time. Then he along with his sons, Nitesh and Nilesh, founded the Swabhimani Paksha and later merged it with the BJP.
Commenting on the issue, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said, “I do not want to get into this matter. He (Narayan Rane) is acting as per his ‘sanskar.’ I do not give any importance to this issue.”
BJP president JP Nadda said, “We will neither be scared nor bullied by such acts. These people are disturbed by the terrific response to the BJP Jan Ashirwad Yatra and it will continue.”
“This is an attempt by the Maharashtra government to foil BJP's Jan Ashirwad Yatra and hide the failures of the Mahav Vikas Aghadi government,” tweeted union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
BJP state president Chandrakant Patil has said that the BJP MPs will submit a memorandum to the speaker of Lok Sabha over “violation of rights” of the union minister and Rajya Sabha MP. He alleged that Rane was arrested without a warrant and added that Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab had asked police to use force in arresting Rane.
Shiv Sena’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg MP Vinayak Raut said, “To impress BJP leadership, Rane has been attacking Shiv Sena and its leaders. He lost his mental balance after his induction into the Modi-led ministry. Modi should show him the door.”
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