Shiv Sena removes Gawali, who suggested aligning with BJP, as party’s chief whip in Parliament
Two weeks after she wrote a letter to Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray suggesting an alliance with the BJP, the party removed MP Bhavana Gawali as the chief whip of Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party and nominated MP Rajan Vichare in her place.
Meanwhile, in a meeting with Thackeray held last Friday, most Sena Parliamentarians are learnt to have suggested to the former Chief Minister to reconcile with the Eknath Shinde faction and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), “considering the future of the party and upcoming elections”.
On Wednesday, Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha Member Sanjay Raut wrote a letter to Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi informing about the removal of Gawali. “Respected Sir, it is to inform you that Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party has nominated Shri. Rajan Vichare, MP (LS) as Chief Whip in Lok Sabha in place of Smt. Bhawana Gawali, MP (LS) with immediate effect,” Raut stated in the letter.
Gawali, who represents Yavatmal Washim Lok Sabha constituency, was in the news a few months back for being under the Enforcement Directorate (ED) scanner.
Even as the party took action against Gawali, several senior Sena leaders that The Indian Express spoke to said that they want the party to support Droupadi Murmu’s, the NDA candidate, bid for presidential polls. They also said that several members of Parliament have asked Thackeray to reconcile with the rebel camp and with the BJP. A senior leader currently in Thackeray camp said that the party chief seemed positive to the suggestion but expressed the view that “there has to be some initiative from the other side as well” in order to move forward.
“We requested Saheb to patch up with the Shinde camp and the BJP again as there is no point in fighting with our own people. Many MPs told Saheb how it would be difficult for Shiv Sena candidates to work in their constituencies and contest elections if the party remains with Maha Vikas Aghadi alongside the Congress and the NCP,” a senior leader said, referring to the Sena chief. He further added that many MPs are also of the view that the Sena should extend support to NDA candidate Murmu considering her tribal background and also the fact that the Sena had contested Lok Sabha election in alliance with the BJP. They, however, said that a decision in the regard will be taken by Thackeray only.
Another leader said, “Saheb also agreed on the suggestion of patching up with Shinde faction but said that there has to be initiation from the other side and there has to be respect.”
In the letter dated June 22, Gawali had stated: “The MLAs of our party are requesting you to take major decisions on the agenda of Hindutva. These Shiv Sena leaders are staunch Shiv Sainiks. Hence, by understanding their feelings, without taking any action against them, I request you to take the decision for Shiv Sena even if it’s difficult.”
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