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Bal Thackeray would have kicked Raut out of Sena for comments on rebel MLAs: Shirsat

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Aurangabad, Jul 07: Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat on Thursday said party founder late Bal Thackeray would have thrown Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut out of the party "in a minute" for the harsh language he used against dissident legislators in Maharashtra.

File photo of Sanjay Raut

Speaking to reporters here, he hit out at Raut, the party's chief spokesperson, and also found fault with the way Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had been handling the affairs of the 56-year-old political outfit.

Shirsat was one of the nearly 40 Sena MLAs who sided with Eknath Shinde - now the chief minister of Maharashtra - when he raised a banner of revolt against the party leadership, a move that subsequently led to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government last month.

The rebel MLAs first reached Surat from Mumbai on June 21 and later flew to Guwahati before coming back to the metropolis after Chief Minister Shinde took oath on June 30. "We were 39 party MLAs and eleven independent MLAs in Guwahati. Sanjay Raut called us street girls when we were in Guwahati when there were women MLAs with us.

If Balasaheb Thackeray had been alive today, he would have kicked Sanjay Raut out of the party in a minute," Shirsat said. The MLA from Aurangabad (West) repeatedly attacked Raut for his choice of words and acerbic statements against rebel legislators when they were staying in a Guwahati hotel. "The statements of Sanjay Raut have hurt me.

The women MLAs accompanying us cried on hearing some of his statements. If his (Raut's) mother or sister would have been there, would Raut have spoken in such a manner? But these comments are being tolerated (under the current leadership). Such people are trying to sink the Shiv Sena," he said. Shirsat said the rebels supporting Shinde want to save the Shiv Sena and they will never go against the Thackeray family.

"We want to save the Shiv Sena, we will never talk against the party or the Thackeray family. We are respectful today and will be the same tomorrow also," the legislator said. Shirsat said no one is trying to understand why there was such a massive revolt in the Shiv Sena.

"Earlier, if anyone betrayed the party, he used to run here and there fearing he would be beaten up. Even if a corporator tried to betray, he would thinks ten times over it. But the party has lost 50 MLAs, including ministers and senior leaders.

"Why one one is trying to understand (reasons for deep disgruntlement in the Sena). If the doors of Matoshree (Thackeray's family residence in Mumbai) are shut for 'four middlemen' who are trying to finish the party, they will not survive for long," the MLA maintained. Shirsat, however, did not elaborate on "four middlemen" comment.

The MLA also took a dig at senior Sena leader Subhash Desai, a former Guardian Minister of Aurangabad district.
"The Guardian Minister didn't even make a phone call to me in the past two-and-a-half years. The BJP-represented Gangapur Assembly constituency got funds of Rs 11 crore, whereas my constituency (Aurangabad West) got just Rs 1 crore," he said.

Shirsat said fund distribution under the erstwhile MVA government was not equitable.

"We should see the funds allocated to the districts of the region through the Public Works Department (handled by Congress's Ashok Chavan under the MVA regime) and see how much money has gone to Nanded (Chavan's home district). A sports university announced for Marathwada was also taken to Balewadi (in Pune)," he added.

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