The tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena over the Lok Sabha bypoll in Palghar has now turned into a full-blown battle between the ruling parties with Uddhav Thackeray and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis trading charges.
A day after the Sena chief released an audio clip, in which Fadnavis is heard exhorting BJP workers to “use all means” to win the bypoll, the chief minister released a longer version of the same clip on Saturday and alleged the Sena had edited parts of the clip and highlighted only those.
Fadnavis, while admitting that it was his voice on the audio clip released by Sena, said they had “twisted” and played out a “selectively edited” audio clip.
The Sena released the clip at a public rally in Palghar on Friday evening and demanded that the Election Commission (EC) should act against the chief minister.
Speaking to BJP workers in Vasai, Fadnavis released the entire 14-minute audio clip. “The Shiv Sena can see it is going to be defeated and thus, it has stooped to such levels,” said the chief minister.
“The Sena twisted my audio clip and presented it before the people to misguide them. The entire audio clip is 14 minutes long. I will myself submit this audio clip to the Election Commission. My last sentence in the clip, which was, that we are in power, but we will never misuse it, was conveniently left out… Had they played it, their claims would have fallen flat. Listen to the whole clip and if there is anything wrong that I have said, I am ready to face action,” Fadnavis said.
The CM also hit out at Thackeray, who had dared the BJP leadership to battle it out without involving the law-and-order machinery. “Only after I became the CM, I had to take security. It is for the CM, not for Devendra Fadnavis. I used to roam around without guards. You call me to provide security and guards for your leaders. If you dislike it, then why do you ask for security cover,” Fadnavis said.
Hours after the chief minister’s clarification, Sena demanded his resignation. Sena spokespersons Anil Parab and Neelam Gorhe addressed the media in Palghar and said the EC should take action on the complaint, before the election is held on May 28.