Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of using central agencies to pursue a vendetta against his government and warned the party to not compel him to act against it.
Thackeray made the remark in an interview to Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana, to mark one year of the Maharashtra coalition government. His warning to the BJP came three days after the Enforcement Directorate raided Shiv Sena MP Pratap Sarnaik and detained his son Vihang Sarnaik in an alleged money-laundering case.
Thackeray criticised the BJP for “coming after the families” of its political rivals. “They [the BJP] must remember that even they have families and children,” Thackeray said. “They themselves are not clean. We know how to deal with them.”
The Maharashtra chief minister said that his restraint should not be mistaken for powerlessness. “I am closely watching all the activities,” Thackeray said. “Revenge and vindictive politics are definitely not the way in Maharashtra. I don’t wish to walk on the path of revenge. Don’t compel me to [take action].”
Thackeray, in a subtle reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, said that the “others” should also remember the cases against them. “Practice politics like it should be,” he was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. “If you are going to misuse power then one must remember that power does not remain forever.”
Thackeray’s Shiv Sena had on Tuesday also alleged that the Enforcement Directorate raids on Sarnaik’s properties were a case of a “political vendetta” by the BJP against the Maharashtra government, because it took a firm stand against Republic TV and its owner Arnab Goswami in the 2018 abetment to suicide case.
Sarnaik is the Shiv Sena MLA who had moved a breach of privilege motion against Goswami and also sought reopening of investigation into the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik, who left a note accusing Goswami and two others of not clearing his dues. Notably, Sarnaik had also demanded a unanimous resolution in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for legal action against actor Kangana Ranaut, for “maligning the image” of the state and Mumbai through her tweets.
Former allies Shiv Sena and BJP fell out over a power-sharing agreement after the Maharashtra Assembly elections in October last year.
The Sena claimed that before the Lok Sabha elections, Amit Shah had promised it the chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years. The Shiv Sena had also demanded half of all Cabinet berths, but the BJP rejected these demands. After a political impasse for several weeks, the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Shiv Sena forged an alliance, and Thackeray was sworn in as the chief minister.