Raut claims Fadnavis, Shah worked against Gadkari in LS polls; draws flak from BJP, Cong leader

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday claimed that PM Modi, Union Minister Amit Shah and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis worked for Nitin Gadkari's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut

Mumbai/Nagpur | Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister Amit Shah and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis worked for Nitin Gadkari's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

Raut's claim has drawn sharp reactions from the BJP and Congress's candidate from Nagpur.

Raut alleged that Fadnavis had unwillingly campaigned for Gadkari, who contested from the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat, when he realised the Union minister couldn't be defeated.

Nagpur is the hometown of both BJP leaders.

"Modi, Shah and Fadnavis worked for Gadkari's defeat in Nagpur. Fadnavis unwillingly joined the campaign for Gadkari when he realised he couldn't be defeated. The RSS people in Nagpur are openly saying Fadnavis helped the opposition to get Gadkari defeated," he wrote in an article in his party's mouthpiece "Saamna".

The Sena (UBT) leader alleged that Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had distributed Rs 25-30 crore in every constituency, and his machinery worked to defeat candidates of the NCP led by Ajit Pawar.

Taking a potshot at Yogi Adityanath, he said the Uttar Pradesh chief minister will be replaced if the Modi-Shah government returns to power after the Lok Sabha elections.

Elections to the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra were held in five phases from April 19 to May 20.

State BJP chief Chandrasekhar Bawankule said Raut had become "delusional".

"The BJP is not a party but a family. People who have always played politics of factionalism will never understand family bonds. Modi, Shah, Yogi Adityanath, Gadkari and Fadnavis are part of the BJP's family. We always work on the principle of nation first, then party and last self," he said.

For Raut, NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar always comes first, his interests and Uddhav Thackeray come last, he said.

"If Raut has the courage, he should write a column about how he tried to become the chief minister in 2019 (when the undivided Shiv Sena joined hands with the NCP and Congress)," Bawankule said.

Congress candidate from Nagpur seat Vikas Thakre said Raut had praised Gadkari in the past and has, in his article, claimed that the BJP leader would win the Lok Sabha polls and hence, Fadnavis campaigned for him.

"How does he (Raut) know that Gadkari ji is winning the election? Is he an astrologer? When he is a part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), he should keep his love for Gadkari behind the walls of his home," Thakre said.

By writing openly in favour of Gadkari, the Sena (UBT) leader is causing losses to MVA, he said.

"I feel that a senior leader of the MVA writing such things in a newspaper is not the dharm of the alliance. He should be talking in support of MVA candidates," Thakre said.

Whatever issues Raut has with the BJP, he should directly name the party. It is not proper of him to say that they (BJP leaders) helped the MVA candidate in Nagpur, he said.

"We have been fighting against the BJP for many years, and we don't need a certificate from Raut ji. He should have understood the situation in Nagpur before writing the article. As an MVA leader, he should not have given such statements," he said.

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