Ravindra Phatak rejoins Shiv Sena

Once a close aide of Narayan Rane, Phatak’s re-entry into Shiv Sena is being seen as a victory for the party. However, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders believe that Uddhav Thackeray has gone back on his word by letting him re-join Sena

On Saturday morning, Ravindra Phatak, one of Narayan Rane’s staunchest supporters, joined the Shiv Sena — a party he had left to join Congress in 2005.

 Thane Municipal Corporation corporator Ravindra Phatak met Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree Thane Municipal Corporation corporator Ravindra Phatak met Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree
(Second from left) Thane Municipal Corporation corporator Ravindra Phatak met Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree yesterday. PIC/Rajesh Waradkar

While the Sena is jubilant over Phatak’s re-entry into the party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is unhappy over the turn of events. The reason? It was Uddhav Thackeray who had apparently blocked Rane’s entry into the BJP, by declaring that all those had hurt Bal Thackeray should not be inducted into the party.

However, the BJP feels that by taking Phatak back, the Shiv Sena is going back on its word. Phatak joined the Shiv
Sena at Matoshree, the Thackerays’ residence in Bandra, on Saturday.

Growing discontent
sunday mid-day tried contacting Maharashtra BJP President Devendra Fadnavis to comment on the growing discontent among the party leaders, with regards to Sena’s attitude towards BJP. Despite repeated attempts, Fadnavis could not be contacted. “During a press conference at the Mumbai BJP office, Fadnavis had referred to the Shiv Sena as the big brother in the state, but this brother is tricking us now,” said a senior BJP leader, on the condition of anonymity.

When asked to clarify what he means, he said, “The path was clear for Rane to join BJP, but the Sena objected to it. Also, Uddhav recently held a conference where he said he will not let people, who had hurt Balasaheb, re-join the party. He is not taking Chhagan Bhujbal or Narayan Rane back, but instead, is taking all those aides who were once in Sena and then left with Rane. Isn’t this going back on his word? Had we got Rane, all his loyalists would have come to us automatically.”

Victory for Sena?
Phatak is the third entrant in the Shiv Sena, after Kishor Kanhere and Mangesh Bansode, both close aides of Bhujbal, joined Sena last week. He has allegedly joined Sena with eight sitting corporators and two ex-corporators from Thane. In the last bypolls held in Thane, Phatak had a major showdown with Eknath Shinde, the strongman of Shiv Sena in the district. However, on Saturday morning, it was Shinde who escorted Phatak to Matoshree.

Meanwhile on Friday, Rane lambasted Uddhav at a press conference in Sindhudurg and even went on to say that Uddhav is scared of Rane’s shadow. He added that it is not Rane, but Uddhav himself, who had hurt Bal Thackeray the most. Post Phatak’s entry, when Uddhav was asked by mediapersons to comment on Rane, he said, “Rane now needs to be consoled. I pray to God that he gets into some political party.”

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