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Call for splitting Maharashtra attempts to weaken PM Modi: Shiv Sena

sanjay-raut

Mumbai: Shiv Sena on Wednesday alleged that provocative statements favouring division of Maharashtra are aimed at creating an unrest in the state and an attempt to “weaken and destabilize” Prime Minister Narendra Modi by his own partymen.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told PTI that the party is concerned about whether attempts are on to “weaken and destabilize” the Prime Minister by making such statements given the fact that he had assured he would protect Maharashtra’s integrity as long as he is in Delhi. “We suspect that people from the Prime Minister’s own party are trying to make him unstable by raking up the issue. Shiv Sena is unfazed. It is not afraid of a fight. It is ready for the battle for the cause of Maharashtra”, said Raut, whose party is a coalition partner of the BJP both at the Centre and in the state.

Asked whether the Sena would seek clarifications on the issue from the BJP and the RSS, Raut, who is leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha, said it needed to be understood that Maharashtra has not been created by making requests, submissions and petitions. “Maharashtra has been created following a struggle and sacrifice by 105 martyrs,” he said, insisting “Maharashtra is united, it will remain united.”

Replying to a question, he said statements favouring division of Maharashtra could be an attempt aimed at creating unrest in the otherwise peaceful state. “It could be an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the burning problems of drought, scarcity of water, suicide by farmers and rising unemployment”, he said. Asked about RSS ideologue M G Vaidya’s statement that Maharashtra needed to be divided in four parts, Raut said as far as he is aware, Vaidya does not hold any position in the Sangh.

In an apparent dig at RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, he said RSS now issues clarifications to the statements of even its chief. The jibe was in obvious reference to RSS clarifying Bhagwat’s remarks on review of reservation policy which had created a controversy during the Bihar polls. Raut’s remarks came close on the heels of Vaidya’s statement favouring splitting Maharashtra into four states. Vaidya had said, “One state should be Mumbai along with Konkan, Western Maharashtra can be a second state, Vidarbha the third state and Marathwada including north Maharashtra the fourth state called Devgiri. “The government must set up a commission to carve out smaller states to ensure better governance and rapid progress of the people,” he had said.

Earlier this week, Maharashtra Advocate General Shreehari Aney was forced to resign for his remark favouring a separate Marathwada state which led to an uproar in both Houses with the Opposition and even ruling ally Shiv Sena seeking his ouster. Aney had said at a programme where relief was distributed among families of farmers who committed suicide that Marathwada had suffered more injustice than Vidarbha, and called for a movement for creation of a separate state. A few months ago, he had sparked a similar row by calling for a referendum on a separate Vidarabha state.

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