The Shiv Sena on Friday announced the names of party’s new spokespersons who will replace former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi, party’s former group leader in the Assembly Subhash Desai and MP Sanjay Raut.
The trigger, it is believed, is their recent role and statements advocating the Shiv Sena’s patch up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) even after the former assumed the Leader of Opposition’s post. The party has also removed Shweta Parulekar, who had rejoined the Shiv Sena after defecting to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, as spokesperson.
The new appointees include South Mumbai Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, MLA from Pune's Purandar constituency Vijay Shivtare, party leaders Manisha Kayande, Arvind Bhosale and Marathi actor Amol Kolhe.
The party has retained its spokesperson and legislator Neelam Gorhe.
Shiv Sena leaders, who did not want to be identified, said Friday’s appointments aim at giving chances to new faces in the party’s functioning. Besides, the five new spokespersons have been picked up personally by party chief Uddhav Thackeray in a bid to project the party in the changed political scenario.
Shiv Sena insiders say Joshi and Raut were removed for taking an anti-party stand. On November 17 on the second death anniversary of Bal Thackeray, Joshi had said the split between the Shiv Sena and the BJP was a temporary one and hoped that both the parties would come together in the near future.
Raut was removed as spokesperson after he responded to Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s statement that the possibility of mid-term polls are high. He had said the Shiv Sena would ensure the BJP government in the state does not fall.
“These statements have gone against the hard line taken by the Shiv Sena president, who had announced that the party would play the role of a vigilant opposition,” a Sena leader told Business Standard.
Raut downplayed the party’s decision to drop him from the panel of spokespersons citing that the move was aimed at giving newer faces a bigger say in the party.