NEW DELHI: Former Maharashtra minister Ramdas Kadam on Tuesday alleged that NCP chief Sharad Pawar was breaking the Shiv Sena and he had given proof of this to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
“It was Sharad Pawar (NCP Chief) who broke the party (Shiv Sena). He was trying to end it since Balasaheb was there but never found a chance. Now he made Uddhav CM. Uddhav didn’t go out during covid and then was ill for 6 months. Pawar made use of it,” said Kadam, a day after he was removed by the Uddhav-led Shiv Sena for anti-party activities.
The Sena was “systematically weakened” by Pawar. Some MLAs had expressed concern over it but Thackeray was not ready to part ways with Pawar, Kadam claimed.
“We should be thankful that this (rebellion led by CM Eknath Shinde) happened in the first two-and-a-half years of the Thackeray government. Otherwise, the Sena would have been finished at the end of the five-year tenure. Not even 5-10 MLAs would have won the next Assembly election,” he said.
BJP is behind split: NCP
However, NCP’s chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase dismissed Kadam’s remarks, claiming the BJP was behind the split in the Shiv Sena and that the rebel leaders were trying to divert the attention from it by targeting Pawar.
On Monday, Kadam in a letter to Thackeray tendered his resignation as “Shiv Sena leader”.
Shiv Sena president and former state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday evening announced that Kadam was sacked for indulging in “anti-party” activities.
Kadam was later “reinstated” as leader by the rebel Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
The Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, comprising the Sena, NCP and Congress, collapsed last month after Shinde and 39 other Sena MLAs revolted against the party.
Kadam on Tuesday said, “I have given ample proof to Uddhavji about how NCP chief Sharad Pawar is breaking the Shiv Sena.”
He (Pawar) had given good posts to members of the Kunabi community (in Konkan) and also strengthened them with funds, Kadam claimed.
“The chief minister was ours, funds came from government coffers, but the party (Sena) was systematically weakened by Pawar. Many MLAs expressed similar concerns before you (Uddhav Thackeray), but you were not ready to leave Pawar,” he further claimed.
Had (Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray been alive today, would he have allowed Uddhav Thackeray to become chief minister with the support of the NCP and Congress? Kadam asked.
The former minister further said he had opposed Uddhav Thackeray’s move (in 2019) to join hands with the NCP and Congress to form government in Maharashtra.
“I told him (Uddhav) that it is like committing a sin. His (Balasaheb Thackeray’s) soul will not be at peace with this arrangement,” he said.
Kadam said Balasaheb Thackeray had stood firm over his stand on Hindutva while confronting the Congress and NCP.
Would he have even allowed Uddhav Thackeray to become chief minister by joining hands with the Congress and NCP? he wondered, alleging that Pawar finally succeeded in “breaking” the Sena.
Kadam also appealed to Uddhav Thackeray to reconsider his thoughts about the rebels.
“Uddhavji, you should consider the options about how to come together in future, how to bring Shinde back to the party. Try to keep our fortress intact, (it) should be our priority,” he said.
Last month, when Shinde revolted against the party, Ramdas Kadam’s son Yogesh Kadam, the MLA from Dapoli in Ratnagiri district, had also joined the rebel camp.
Meanwhile, NCP spokesperson Tapase said the MVA was formed due to Pawar’s initiative and even after the rebellion, the NCP is still supporting Uddhav Thackeray and his group of Sena leaders.
(With inputs from PTI)