Deepak Kesarkar, a Shiv Sena legislator and spokesperson for the rebel faction headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, sought to know what Sharad Pawar gained by causing pain to Bal Thackeray.
“It is a fact that whenever the Shiv Sena has split, Pawar saheb had a role to play,” he said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Deepak Kesarkar said “Matoshree” has never gone to “Silver Oak”, Pawar’s home in south Mumbai.
“Why did he (Pawar) engineer splits that caused pain to Balasaheb (Thackeray)?” the Shiv Sena legislator, who was once in the Nationalist Congress Party, asked.
Before the last month’s revolt by a section of MLAs led by Eknath Shinde, the 56-year-old Shiv Sena has seen rebellions by its influential leaders like Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray, the cousin of party president Uddhav Thackeray.
Once a firebrand leader of the Shiv Sena, Chhagan Bhujbal quit the party and joined the Congress in 1991. He later became a member of the NCP after Sharad Pawar floated the party in 1999 after leaving the Congress.
Konkan strongman Narayan Rane, a former Sena chief minister who is now in the BJP, quit the Bal Thackeray-founded party in 2005.
“These things are not to be revealed. I was witness to this. Sharad Pawar saheb said this to me in confidence that although ‘I helped Rane to quit the Sena, I did not lay any condition which party he should join’. This means he provided whatever help Narayan Rane needed. He took Bhujbal (with him in NCP),” Deepak Kesarkar said.
The Shiv Sena suffered another jolt when Raj Thackeray quit and formed his own outfit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in 2006.
Raj Thackeray and Narayan Rane had blamed Uddhav Thackeray for their decision to quit the party.
“And you are aware, his blessings were always there for Raj saheb because he has high regards for him (Pawar),”Deepak Kesarkar added.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena is an ally of the NCP, which was part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited and is published from a syndicated feed.)