After jolting the BJP, the NCP yesterday gave a direct fist in the face of the Shiv Sena by bringing its Member of Parliament on party’s dais. Sena MP from Kalyan, Anand Paranjpe, dramatically entered the press conference of NCP chief Sharad Pawar at Rashtravadi Bhavan and came down heavily on the Sena’s style of functioning. A baffled Sena could come to terms with this drastic development only after some time to ‘make it clear’ that Paranjpe was free to choose his way but he should first relinquish the post of MP which he has obtained as a Sena candidate. Meanwhile, anticipating violent reaction from Sena activists, security outside Paranjpe’s home and office in Thane has been stepped up.
In what could be seen as a severe jolt to the Sena, Paranjpe yesterday shared the stage with Sharad Pawar at the latter’s party office and launched a tirade against the saffron party saying that it is now not the Sena that Sena chief Bal Thackeray had wanted. However, there are indications that Paranjpe had made up his mind to leave the Sena and was waiting for the party to take action, so that he could retain his membership of the Parliament. On Thursday, the NCP gave blow to the BJP by bringing in Panditanna Munde, the brother of senior party leader Gopinath Munde. Dhananjay, son of Panditanna, who is also a MLC attacked the BJP leadership from the NCP platform.
Speaking to reporters, Paranjpe said, “The Sena which Bal Thackeray wanted is no more. Loyal Shiv Sainiks are being sidelined in today’s Sena. Earlier, the Sena was a family. Everyone shared sorrows together but now the whole scenario has changed. Against this backdrop, the only name that came to me when I thought about development issues was that of Pawarsaheb and I have come to meet him.”
“The local Sena leadership in Thane had opposed minorities and Urdu schools and even a kabrastan in Mumbra. Those who have kicked the Sena’s saffron flag in the past are being welcomed in that party. Those who were dead against Anand Dighe have been inducted into the party fold. Loyal Shivsainiks are being marginalised and they are virtually suffocating in the party. In the process, prime issues of development have taken a backseat,” he added further.
Sharad Pawar pointed out that Paranjpe had come seeking cooperation in solving the local developmental issues. When asked if his move of sharing the dais could attract provisions of anti- defection law, Pawar said, “This is not something against the party at a party forum or on the floor of the house. He just met us and discussed various developmental issues. The question of violating the anti-defection law does not arise.”
However, according to sources, Paranjpe has taken the decision to leave the Sena and join the NCP. He is now waiting for the party to initiate action against him, so that he can retain his MP’s post and then switch over. Anand’s father Prakash Paranjpe was also a Sena MP. Anand was fielded by the party after his father’s demise.