Opposition to Shinde Sena at Bal Thackeray memorial a trailer: Raut

Mumbai: leader Sanjay Raut on Friday dubbed the face-off between the workers of his party and the faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s memorial here as a “trailer”, and said it shows what lies ahead in 2024 in the run up to the national and Maharashtra elections.

Addressing a press conference, Raut said the clash at Shivaji Park was between Sena loyalists and “slaves” of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He also attacked the Shinde-led Sena and said how can those who backstabbed the party and ideals of Bal Thackeray be Shiv Sainiks.

He was referring to the revolt in the party led by Shinde in June last year, which resulted in a split in the parent party and collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Two groups of the rival Sena faced off on Thursday night at Bal Thackeray’s memorial on the eve of his 11 death anniversary.

“Those who are loyalist and true to Balasaheb’s ideals are real Shiv Sainiks…They may have opposed (the rival group) and this is acceptable to Maharashtra. The opposition by loyalist Shiv Sainiks to traitors is a trailer and also what lies in the run up to 2024 (national and state polls),” the Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha member said.

Raut also dubbed CM Shinde as ‘Vibhishan’ as he betrayed his brother and demon king Ravan to join hands with Lord Ram.

“Everyone can come to Balasaheb’s ‘Smriti Sthal’ (memorial). But we will never accept those who indulged in drama as Shiv Sainiks. They don’t have any faith in Balasaheb,” Raut added.

In a statement issued on late Thursday night, Shinde said his group had chosen to pay respect at the memorial a day ahead of Bal Thackeray’s death anniversary to avoid any law and order situation and blamed the rival Sena for the ruckus.

Press Trust of India (PTI) is India’s premier news agency, having a reach as vast as the Indian Railways. It employs more than 400 journalists and 500 stringers to cover almost every district and small town in India.

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