Since 2019, most Shiv Sena leaders are on the opposition’s radar for some or other reasons including Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray. Uddhav Thackeray attempted to bring BJP in its senses by saying no to their arrogance. No matter what it is always Shiv Sena for Mumbai and Mumbai for Shiv Sena. And believe me, I’m born and raised here, Shiv Sainiks are not those that are portrayed by the media or non-Marathi speaking migrated people. The locals and Shiv Sainiks have a strong bond with each other.
The first controversy triggered Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and a series of verbal wars between the Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami (a BJP supporter) and the Shiv Sena went on. Finally, Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant had to meet then Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and demand a “strict action” against Goswami for making accusations against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Arnab and his gang went irrepressible in attacking Uddhav Thackeray, Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut. There were series of episodes on them by all these BJP counterparts and its supporters.
Somehow, Mumbai Police arrested Goswami in connection with the case related to the suicide of an architect and his mother in 2018. Anvay Naik and his mother allegedly committed suicide over non-payment of dues by Goswami’s Republic Network. Naik’s daughter had claimed that non-payment of dues was the reason that drove her father and grandmother to commit suicide in May 2018.
While Arnab was caged, film actress Kangana Ranaut took the lead on behalf of BJP and trained her guns at Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Raut. A part of Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow in Mumbai was demolished by the BMC. While the municipal authority claimed that there was an illegal construction underway, the actor had said that it was done to scare her from not speaking up against the ‘movie mafia’ in Bollywood.
With Goswami’s release and fresh TRP case investigation somehow the media trials by his channel came to a halt. But, soon there was fresh trouble for Shiv Sena spokesperson and MLA Pratap Sarnaik, the ED and CBI raided his resort and house. The reasons behind the raids are still unknown. BJP leader Kirit Somaiya claimed that Pratap Sarnaik had bought 78 acres of land at Titwala from NSEL scam money. Pratap Sarnaik’s partner Yogesh Deshmukh was arrested by ED. Sarnaik was also named in the MMRDA Enforcement Directorate that had summoned Sarnaik for its probe into a money laundering case involving TopsGrup. The agency had raided various premises linked to his family in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane. This incident gave media houses and social media samurais some fodder to nibble Shiv Sena but they could hardly gaze at anything in this occurrence.
Every day one Shiv Sena leader was picked up and thrown in a clamour, BJP tried its level best to malign the image of the party. They were hell-bent on creating unrest within Maha Vikas Aghadi by selectively targeting all Shiv Sena leaders one by one. In a way, they were licking their wounds by doing all this. BJP is yet to forget the shock of humiliation of losing power in the state. Under such circumstances, BJP was playing politics about everything and opposing the state government on each and every issue.
In the meantime, BJP’s Navneet Kaur Rana had then written a letter to Om Birla, the speaker of the Lok Sabha by alleging that Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant had threatened her in the parliament’s lobby after she had demanded a probe into the case in which former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and former API Sachin Vaze were allegedly involved. This news hit the headlines and there were thousands of circulations on social media. At last, Arvind Sawant called the press and exposed her false claims.
In fresh trouble for the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, another of its minister, Anil Parab is now battling allegations of extortion. The 56-year-old Parab has worked his way within the party from an ordinary karyakarta to a surprise pick in the Thackeray-led cabinet — chosen over more senior leaders such as Diwakar Raote and Ramdas Kadam.
Parab is one of Uddhav’s close confidantes within the Shiv Sena. Parab gained prominence in 2017 after the Shiv Sena and BJP broke the alliance and fought the Mumbai civic elections independently. During the elections, Parab countered all the attacks of the BJP including its attempt to bend Sena over the allegations of corruption in BMC.
Within months, Parab was named as the party’s group leader in the legislative council by marginalising the veterans. Over the years, Parab gained the confidence of Uddhav Thackeray by playing vital roles for the party. He had a key role in the party’s election strategies in the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls in 2019. Since then, Parab has emerged as the trouble-shooter for the party and has been attacking the BJP over government matters on the advice of Thackeray.
Thackeray had assigned Parab on many instances to counter the BJP on multiple issues in the past one-and-a-half years. Parab has been on the radar of the opposition party since his induction in the cabinet in 2019 and the crucial role he played on important matters of the government. Therefore, BJP assumed that any attack on Parab is an indirect attack on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Well! At such a crucial pandemic time when the state is battling with various critical issues, BJP should mend their ways. Meanwhile, BJP has attacked many Shiv Sena leaders using ED, CBI and their favourite media house trials and IT cells trolls but could not conclude proving anything against Shiv Sena or anyone guilty or wrong, the same could be the fate in Anil Parab’s controversy. Let’s see who is next and how long this continues.
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