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BJP neta stakes claim to CM Eknath Shinde’s Thane

The controversy between the governing Shiv Sena and BJP over Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra’s Thane district continued with Sanjay Kelkar, the BJP MLA on Sunday staking his party’s claim to the whole of Thane and Palghar district and trouncing the Sena’s statement that it would play against the Kalyan and Thane Lok Sabha seats in the future.

The statement, which could dilate the regional discrepancies between the allies at the state and national level, was brought in at a BJP conclave with senior BJP leaders and cabinet ministers in attendance in CM Eknath Shinde’s city of Thane.

Putting up a jab at Shinde and his son, Lok Sabha MP from Kalyan Shrikant Shinde, Kelkar said, “Many from our district, including our allies, have won since 2014 because of the BJP wave. There is no one other than BJP who can get elected here due to our immense groundwork. Not just Thane and Kalyan, but the entire district and Palghar have belonged to us since the era of Rambhau Mhalgi and Ram Kapse. I’m surprised when people start claiming their authority over seats in Thane. They seem to be nursing a misconception that they are the ones working to re-elect PM Modi but fail to realize that it has been BJP workers who have been taking the initiatives to the people.”

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Meanwhile, even as BJP leaders who were present at the event did not elucidate or de-emphasize the statement later, political onlookers said it could be deciphered as the party’s tacit support to the approach of reclaiming Thane from the ally.

Sena was quick to hit back, claiming they didn’t pay heed to what Kelkar said. “What is more important is that leaders like CM Shinde and deputy CM Fadnavis are together, and the alliance has also been also cemented by BJP state president Chandrakant Bawankule. Rather than discouraging a youngster, we must look at the good constructive work he is doing,” said Sena spokesman Naresh Mhaske, directing to Shinde’s son’s seat.

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