Despite rebellion and the formation of the new government headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in an alliance with the BJP, the Shinde camp on Friday claimed that it still respects the Thackeray family and accused the BJP minister Narayan Rane of defaming the Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray in the Sushant Singh Rajput (SSR) death case.
‘’An attempt was made to defame Aaditya Thackeray in the SSR case. Narayan Rane, who is the union minister, made false allegations against Aaditya because those who love the Thackeray family and those from Shiv Sena were distressed,’’ said Kesarkar who is the spokesperson of the Shinde camp and also Rane’s rival in the Sindhudurg district despite now they are part of the new alliance ruling the state. Incidentally, Rane, who is a strong critic of Uddhav Thackeray, has been firing salvos against him when the Maha Vikas Aghadi government was in power and also after its fall following the Shinde-led rebellion.
‘’When actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death happened, there was an attempt to defame Aditya Thackeray. The present Union Minister Narayan Rane held press conferences at that time that played a major role in defaming Aditya Thackeray. Those who love the Thackeray family were hurt by this. I had also conveyed my displeasure to the BJP leaders. I asked them how do you allow the party forum to be used for such things. Thereafter, BJP clarified that most of the party MLAs were against such defamation,’’ said Kesarkar.
‘’It is not right if a young man is being maligned like this when he has a big political future. How painful it is when a person in your family is defamed. So I contacted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and brought to his notice the facts. Many people were upset after Aaditya was defamed as many had taken out morchas,’’ noted Kesarkar. He clarified that he had no dispute with Rane but he should avoid speaking against Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Matoshree (which is Thackeray’s residence).
‘’If Rane stops making comments against Thackeray there won’t be any dispute between me and Rane. If BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who has been targeting Thackeray in connection with alleged corruption cases, can avoid speaking on Matoshree, it won’t be difficult for Rane too,’’ said Kesarkar.
Kesarkar however, asked Aaditya to keep restraint while levelling charges against them (Shinde camp). ‘’We still have love and respect for the Thackeray family. It will remain forever. No matter how much Aditya Thackeray criticizes, we will not respond to him. Because he is a member of the Thackeray family. However, Aaditya should control himself while levelling charges against us,’’ he noted.
Meanwhile, Kesarkar made a sensational disclosure that the dialogue for a patch-up between PM Narendra Modi and former CM Uddhav Thackeray was going on, especially after the latter’s meeting with the former held in June last year. He said after that meeting Thackeray had offered to step down in the wake of attempts to malign Aaditya and the Thackeray family in connection with the SSR death.
Kesarkar claimed he was in the know of the talks for patch up between Shiv Sena and BJP. He also disclosed that Thackeray had proposed the formation of the Shiv Sena-BJP government excluding Eknath Shinde who staged a rebellion with 39 MLAs in June and became CM with the BJP’s help. However, he said the talks were stopped after the suspension of 12 BJP MLAs in the state assembly and thereafter the induction of Narayan Rane into the union cabinet.
Shinde camp insiders said that Kesarkar’s statements against Rane were an attempt to send a signal to Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena that they may have deserted the party but their love and affection will continue. Besides, it was to indicate that the Shinde camp won’t tolerate any attempt to discredit the Thackeray family in particular.