If Uddhav camp calls rebels, they also have to speak with BJP, says Kesarkar
Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson of the party faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, on Thursday expressed willingness to meet Uddhav Thackeray if the latter calls the rebel MLAs directly without the interference of any middleman. He also advised Thackeray to keep away the “middlemen and gate keepers around him” if the party has to be saved.
Kesarkar was speaking to the media after Shinde officially took charge as the CM at Mantralaya.
“We will go to meet him (Thackeray)… but now we are allied with the BJP and it’s a family. Now, if we want to go back to this family (of Thackeray faction), we are not alone. When we are called, they will also have to speak with the BJP,” he added.
Targeting Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for his statement that after 2019 state polls, many MLAs had met him with the request of making them ministers, Kesarkar said, “Raut doesn’t know everything. He could be close to (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar, I don’t know about Uddhavji. I will meet my leader (Thackeray), why would I meet him (Raut)? When I realised that Shiv Sena is facing problems in the Maha Vikas Aghadi, I tried to convince Uddhavji. I have never met them (Thackeray and Raut) for a ministerial post.”
“In 2014, (Uddhav) had told me he was unable to make me a Cabinet minister because he had to give first priority to Sena leaders who had worked with Balasaheb. That is why I respect Uddhavji,” Kesarkar said, adding that he was offered ministerial post by the BJP but he joined Sena in 2014 after quitting NCP.
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With Shinde camp MLAs expressing their displeasure over the language Raut used after their rebellion, the MP said on Thursday that the rebel MLAs are trying to justify their act. “Initially, they said they had rebelled for Hindutva, then they said there was an issue with funds allotted… then they said NCP was harassing them and now they are saying it’s because of me. I think they should first decide one reason and tell us,” Raut told mediapersons. Kesarkar, meanwhile, criticised the Thackeray-led Sena’s decision to replace Bhavana Gawali as the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha. “With such an action, you are insulting women. She is a five-time MP, who has held the Shiv Sena flag high,” he said.
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