Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Ravindra Waikar Says He Quit UBT & Joined Eknath Shinde Led Shiv Sena To Avoid Being Jailed By ED

Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Ravindra Waikar Says He Quit UBT & Joined Eknath Shinde Led Shiv Sena To Avoid Being Jailed By ED

The central agency had registered a PMLA case against him in connection with the construction of a five-star hotel on a civic plot in Jogeshwari

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Friday, May 10, 2024, 08:47 PM IST
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Ravindra Waikar | X | @ravindrawaikar

Mumbai: Shiv Sena candidate in Lok Sabha constituency Mumbai north-west Ravindra Waikar majorly embarrassed his party by stating that he defected from Shiv Sena (UBT) only to escape from being jailed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The central agency had registered a PMLA case against him in connection with the construction of a five-star hotel on a civic plot in Jogeshwari.

Waikar, who was known for his fierce loyalty to Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, admitted in an interview given to a Marathi daily that he had no choice but join the Shiv Sena led by chief minister Eknath Shinde. Waikar's importance to the Shiv Sena (UBT) can be gauged from the fact that Uddhav had driven down to his apartment and tried to dissuade him from quitting the party. But, apparently Waikar was mortally afraid of the ED so much that he decided to ditch Uddhav and hold the hands of Shinde, who promised to pull him out of the mess he had landed himself in. 

In a face-saving exercise, Waikar told newspersons that his interview has been "twisted". He said before quitting Shiv Sena (UBT) he had had three meetings with Uddhav at which he asked him to bail him out of the trouble he was facing (from the ED). But, since the latter pleaded helplessness he called on Shinde who immediately promised to take him off the hook. In any case, the fact remains that Waikar preferred to join the Shiv Sena, which has an alliance with the BJP, rather than risk a term in jail. 

Waikar is pitted against Amol Kirtikar of the Shiv Sena (UBT) whose father and sitting M.P. from Mumbai north-west is with the chief minister. Amit Satam, MLA of the BJP, alleged that Kirtikar Sr was physically with Shinde, but his soul was with Uddhav. Many in the BJP share Satam's opinion and they are of the opinion that their party leadership had made a blunder by conceding the seat to the Shiv Sena. "How can anyone expect Gajanan Kirtikar to oppose his own son? In fact, all his workers are campaigning for Amol," a BJP leader alleged.

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