Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde’s meeting with Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar sparks political debate

Interestingly, Thackeray camp has stepped up its vigil on the party legislators and MPs who continue to remain with it.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Thursday, July 21, 2022, 09:49 PM IST
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Chief Minister Eknath Shinde | PTI

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s visit to a veteran Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, who is a close confidant of Balasaheb Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray, on Thursday to inquire about his health after surgery surprised many in the Thackeray camp but the meeting held to a speculation that Kirtikar may jump ship to join the Shinde camp. However, Kirtikar, who is recovering from the surgery, has scoffed at media reports reiterating his. Faith and confidence in Uddhav Thackeray. Interestingly, Thackeray camp has stepped up its vigil on the party legislators and MPs who continue to remain with it.

Shinde was accompanied by party legislators Sanjay Shirsat and Balaji Kinikar.

Shinde’s official day schedule declared by the Chief Minister’s Office had not mentioned his visit to Kirtikar’s house. But he chose to take out time from his busy schedule and met Kirtikar. This was to reiterate his claim that he has not left Shiv Sena and he respects the elders and seniors in the party. It was also to score a brownie point over Thackeray camp.

Shinde’s visit came two days after 12 of the 19 Shiv Sena MPs deserted Thackeray and joined him. The Lok Sabha secretariat has recognised party MP from south central Mumbai Rahul Shewale as the group leader replacing the incumbent Vinayak Raut and another MP from Yavatmal-Washim Bhavana Gawali as the chief whip replacing another MP from Thane Rajan Vichare.

Kirtikar before the fall of the Thackeray led government had accused the Shiv Sena’s ally NCP in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government of its attempt to break Shiv Sena and not giving its due share from the district development fund to the party. Kirtikar had subsequently brought to Thackeray’s notice and wanted that NCP should follow the alliance dharma.

Kirtikar is a senior Shiv Sena leader who was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly from 1990 to 2009 and later elected to the Lok Sabha twice in 2014 and 2019. He has been heading the Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti, an outfit of Shiv Sena that works for the local people’s plight in jobs.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday had claimed that Kirtikar was among the 6 Lok Sabha MPs that have not defected but continue to be with Thackeray led Shiv Sena.

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