Maharashtra polls: BJP attempted to sabotage our campaign, say Shiv Sena leaders

Sena leaders accused BJP of underhanded tactics when Yuva Sena chief, Aaditya Thackeray was forced to cancel a Pune rally after his flight was grounded at Nashik airport due to the PM’s scheduled visit

With every passing day, the BJP-Shiv Sena split seems to have a growing resemblance to the bitter break-up of a marriage — starting off with a seemingly amicable separation and quickly moving on to an intense suspicion of each other.

Aditya Thackeray
Aaditya Thackeray was supposed to address Yuva Sena volunteers in Pune, but had to cancel the meeting when his flight was grounded for over four hours because of the PM’s scheduled visit to Nashik. File pic

So, Sena leaders were quick to accuse the BJP of underhanded tactics when Yuva Sena president, Aaditya Thackeray, was forced to cancel a visit to Pune yesterday. His flight was grounded for over four hours at Nashik yesterday, due to security provisions for the Prime Minister’s scheduled visit.

After a road show at Nashik, the Thackeray scion was supposed to fly to Pune on Sunday, to address Yuva Sena volunteers there. The meeting was scheduled for 11.30 am, but when Thackeray reached the airport, the Nashik district collector did not permit him to fly due to “VVIP movement in the city”. He was made to wait over four hours before his flight was cleared to take off at 1 pm, but by it was already too late by then.

When Sena members discovered that the VVIP was none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they instantly suspected there was some other tactic at play. “It was a deliberate attempt by BJP leaders to disturb Sena’s campaign. Aadityaji’s schedule in Nashik and Pune was pre-planned, and we took all the necessary permissions. Our senior leader and MP of Nashik, Hemant Godse, had also tried his best to convince Nashik District Collector Vilas Patil to give permission for Aadityaji’s flight to take off, but it was in vain. This is nothing but a conspiracy by the BJP,” said Pune Yuva Sena president, Kiran Sali.

“We can understand that the PM’s security is a matter of concern. However, Adityaji had to wait for four hours at the airport, and when he got permission to fly, it was already too late,” he added, claiming that around 3,000 volunteers had been waiting for Thackeray but were now disappointed.

Thackeray himself had a much calmer reaction, and tweeted to say he would plan another visit to the city to talk to the volunteers. He took care not to mention the PM, but simply said that his visit had been cancelled due to “some VVIP movement”.

Ironically, the PM, who was supposed to address a rally in Nashik yesterday, did not even show up. After another rally at Sangli, he was supposed to travel to Nashik, but the plans were cancelled due to bad weather.

At the Sangli rally, Modi said that he would not attack the Sena out of respect for Thackeray. But Modi’s assurances have done nothing to assuage the Sena’s concerns. The party’s city campaign chief and former chairperson of the PMC standing committee, Ramesh Bodake, did not mention BJP specifically, but said that Sena leaders “were expecting such behaviour, as they are now opponents”.

“Such conspiracies don’t scare us. If we look back on history, we will find that no statesman who hails from Delhi has ever had success in ruling over Maharashtra,” added Bodake, in a thinly-veiled reference to the BJP and PM Modi, who is spearheading the election campaign.

No comment: BJP
BJP leader and Pune MP, Anil Shirole said, “Just this morning, Modiji said he would not say anything against Sena, as a tribute to Bal Thackeray. So what should we say now? Now, whatever the Sena alleges, we will have just one response — no comment.”

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