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Shiv Sena resorts to public display of bravado even as internal squabbles rock the party

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-09-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

Mumbai: Even as Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Monday issued a stern message to the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra saying the Sena has almost made up its mind over pulling out of the government, a number of Shiv Sena legislators including ministers are learnt to have squabbled right before party president Uddhav Thackeray at an internal meeting at Matoshri, Thackeray’s residence. At least three Shiv Sena legislators including two ministers and one senior party functionary who attended the meeting told Mint that the internal mood in the party was of “confusion and divisions”.

“Raut is demonstrating false bravado perhaps to throw a cover over the open fights and arguments among ministers and legislators at the meeting right in the presence of Uddhav saheb. Raut has told media that all legislators and MPs are unhappy with the functioning of the Modi government at the Centre and the Fadnavis government in the state. While that may be true, what is also true is that most Sena legislators are livid with the Sena ministers only and there is huge resentment among the cadres over the ministers’ performance,” a senior Sena minister told Mint requesting anonymity.

He said the legislators and even ministers were “confused” over the party’s position in the state “as it frequently attacked the BJP while continued to share power with it”. “This confusion as well as listless performance by some ministers has dispirited the cadres who are not sure if the party can take on the BJP right now,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Raut told reporters after what was touted as an organisational meeting called by Thackeray that all Sena legislators and MPs had expressed confidence in the leadership of Thackeray and in the decisions he might take over continuing in the state government and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

“Both the Modi government and the state government have become very unpopular and the Shiv Sena would not like to take the blame for the government’s bad performance. All our legislators, ministers, and MPs told Uddhav saheb that they would rally behind whatever decisions he thinks fit to take over continuing our support to the state government. We are very close to our final decision which Uddhav saheb only will take,” Raut told reporters.

Senior Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra’s environment minister Ramdas Kadam told Marathi news channel ABP Majha that legislators had complained to Uddhav Thackeray that development works in their constituencies were not being implemented. “The legislators are unhappy that the state government is indifferent to the development works in the constituencies held by Shiv Sena. They want the Shiv Sena to pull out of the government and they have conveyed their sentiment to Uddhav saheb,” Kadam said.

However, another senior Sena legislator said the meeting witnessed “open squabbles and arguments” among ministers and legislators. “One legislator questioned Kadam himself and accused him of not even talking properly to the party legislators. There was a nasty argument between a senior legislator and an MP. It is also wrong to say that all legislators and ministers want the party to pull out of the government. There are dissenting voices and a large number of legislators feel that withdrawing support would be a mistake,” said the legislator who did not want to be named.

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