mid-day exclusive: Ugly graffiti war breaks out on Varsha wall
Exclusive: Days after Devendra Fadnavis vacates official bungalow, barbs found on walls; ex-CM says he left the house in proper condition, slams 'lowly politics' targeting his child
Just when you thought the dirty politics between Shiv Sena and the BJP will be left behind in 2019, a fresh controversy has broken out after Devendra Fadnavis vacated the chief minister's official residence, Varsha. mid-day is in possession of photos of the family room with purportedly anti-Sena scrawls: 'UT is mean', 'We are happy in any condition, unlike some good person', and 'BJP & Sivsena were friend (maybe still are)' (sic). Fadnavis categorically told mid-day the scribbles did not exist when he handed over possession of the bungalow two weeks ago, and blamed 'dirty and very cheap politics.'
Some of the other slogans found when PWD officials visited the bungalow for repair and renovations, read include 'BJP is the winner', 'Devendra Rox' and 'BJP Rocks'. Another part of the wall had a caricature depicting a woman saying, 'Mera Beta hi CM banega', with a male figure responding 'Ok'.
Devendra Fadnavis and Amruta Fadnavis
The Sena and the BJP were locked in a month-long bitter war of words and bickering after their pre-poll alliance fell through over who will become CM. Before Uddhav Thackeray (sometimes referred to as UT by supporters and colleagues) was chosen to lead the tri-party Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, there was speculation that a section of the Sena wanted first-time MLA Aaditya Thackeray to be CM.
In recent days, even the former chief minister's wife had started taking on Uddhav in her social media posts. Sources said the scrawls were seen in rooms used by Fadnavis's wife Amruta and their daughter, 12.
1. While most parts have been struck out, the legible bits simply read, 'UT is mean' ; 2. This photo shows names of family members and what seems to be a friend, with the comment: 'We are happy in any condition. Unlike some good person'. The word any seems to be written over what looks like the word 'angry'. There is also 'BJP Rox', and 'Devendra Rock'; 3. This part has, 'Who is mean?' with 'UT' written alongside, besides 'BJP 4ever' inside a heart-shaped scrawl; 4. One part depicts a woman saying 'Mera Beta hi CM banega', with a male figure responding 'Ok'
"The room was handed over to the PWD department two weeks ago," said a source. "There were some stationary and other material inside the bedrooms used by the former CM, his wife and their child. While cleaning the rooms, the PWD team noticed these slogans. We have now painted over them again as the new chief minister may soon shift to Varsha."
However, sources close to Fadnavis told mid-day that he and his team took all precautions while vacating the bungalow and informed the PWD about all the equipment and electronic items installed by the government of Maharashtra. They also insisted that there was nothing to be gained for Fadnavis in all this, wondering who stands to benefit from this controversy.
Nitin Raut, PWD minister
Fadnavis, who has been allotted the bungalow Sagar, where the renovation work is going on, told mid-day: "When we vacated the bungalow there was nothing as such written on the walls as I am now being told. We checked each and every corner of the house. There is a staff quarter where their children play. I am not aware if somebody else has done this. This is dirty and very cheap politics and it seems to have been done to deliberately defame us."
PWD sources said some workers like guards and gardeners remain on the premises, but once the main area of the bungalow is handed over, the area is out of bounds to outsiders. The minister currently holding charge of PWD, Nitin Raut of the Congress, told mid-day: "Nothing of this sort has come to my knowledge, I will have to enquire about it."
The Shiv Sena sought to side-step the issue, with party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi saying, "We don't even want to comment on this. People can judge best for themselves."
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