Mumbai: A bitter war has broken out between the ruling coalition partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, over the Lok Sabha bypolls happening in Palghar constituency. The Shiv Sena has leaked an audio tape of CM Devendra Fadnavis in which he is allegedly heard telling BJP activists to adopt any methods possible to win the polls and teach Shiv Sena a lesson. This has become a huge controversy and has resulted in the BJP-Sena relations hitting rock bottom once again.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Saturday, admitted to his voice and content in an audio-clip in which he exhorted his activists ‘to win Palghar elections’ at any cost, which kicked up a massive political row in the poll-bound Maharashtra district. However, he hit back by alleging that the original audio clip was ‘selectively edited and doctored’ to remove the context of his statement on ‘saam daam, dand and bhed’ to party activists.
To prove his point, he played the entire 14-minute audio clip before the media and accused the Shiv Sena of ‘resorting to such low-level tactics as it stares at defeat in Palghar’. “I said it... and that is my voice. But the following sentence has been deliberately knocked off to twist it completely out of context. I am sending it to the Election Commission with a request that if I am found guilty, they can take action against me,” Fadnavis declared.
In the same breath, he demanded that if the Shiv Sena was found guilty of ‘editing and doctoring’ the audio-tape, then it should also face action for playing it in public to misguide the voters on the eve of the Palghar Lok Sabha by-election. The audio clip controversy erupted on a day when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi completes four years, and just two days before the high-stakes Palghar Lok Sabha by-election of May 28. In the tape played by the Shiv Sena, which went viral on social media and television networks, Fadnavis is heard directing Bharatiya Janata Party activists to use ‘saam, daam, dand and bhed’ and win Palghar at any cost.
“We have a huge challenge before us... Some people are challenging our very existence. They are behaving like friends but backstabbing us and we must hit back. If anybody is bullying us, we must attack them. They must know that I am a bigger bully. I am firmly standing behind you,” Fadnavis said in Marathi, in the purported tape aired by the Shiv Sena.