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Fadnavis to be ex-Chief Minister soon, says Sena MP Raut

Mumbai: The political situation in Maharashtra will change drastically after the February 23 civic polls with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis soon loosing his chair, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut claimed today.

His comments are the latest in the acrimonious exchange of words between the estranged saffron allies ahead of the civic polls, which they are fighting separately.

“Fadnavis is soon going to become an ex-Chief Minister.

He has opened up a ‘clean chit factory’ where hooligans and criminals are promptly given a clean chit by him. There will be a drastic change in the political situation of Maharashtra after February 23,” Raut said while speaking in Amravati in Vidarbha region.

Elections to 10 municipal corporations, including Mumbai, are slated for February 21 and the results will be announced on February 23.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has also dropped broad hints that it will review its support to the BJP-led government after the civic poll results are announced. The Sena and BJP have snapped their ties in BMC, but they remain allies in the ruling coalitions in Maharashtra and at the Centre.

Responding to BJP’s demand for a three-day “ban” on publication of Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, Raut said the saffron outfit was “playing with fire by asking for a ban”.

Raut is Executive Editor of the Sena organ, which has been severely critical of BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last few weeks.

A Maharashtra BJP functionary has written to the State Election Commission seeking a ban on Saamana on certain days, claiming it would “impress” upon voters even after the campaigning for civic, Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls ends.

“There is a ban on publishing content or undertaking publicity campaign (of parties and candidates) two days before polling date,” state BJP spokesperson Shweta Shalini said in the letter to SEC.

“Considering the poll dates, there should be a ban on publication of Saamana on February 16 (first phase of Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls), February 20 and 21,” she added.