Attack on Pawar home: NCP says ‘plot’ to physically harm him, Sena senses ‘BJP conspiracy’ (Ld)

In a direct charge, Maharashtra’s ruling Shiv Sena on Saturday accused opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of masterminding the conspiracy of the attack on Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar’s home on Friday evening, while a Minister said it was a sinister plan to cause physical harm to the senior leader and his family, and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari condemned the incident.

Housing Minister Dr Jitendra Awhad made a startling claim that the whole purpose of the assault was to cause “bodily harm” to Pawar, his wife and other family members present at that time in their Silver Oaks bungalow.

“Fortunately, with the blessings of millions of people of the state, nothing untoward happened to Pawar Saheb or his family members,” he added.

NCP state spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said that the attack was a pre-planned and politically-motivated conspiracy intended to destabilise the MVA government, but warned that the party activists would not “remain mute spectators”.

“On one hand, the state transport workers welcomed the Bombay High Court verdict with huge celebrations… How did they suddenly decide to pelt stones and shoes? BJP leaders like Anil Bonde and others are misguiding the employees which is very regrettable,” he said.

Talking to the media after meeting Pawar, Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that the transport workers’ stir on Friday was not an agitation, but “a brutal, pre-planned attack” on the NCP leader’s residence at Silver Oaks bungalow in south Mumbai.

“It is regretful that the Opposition (BJP) is supporting such acts… They are stooping to the lowest level of politics to target the MVA government and create a law-and-order situation in the state,” he said.

Training guns on the leader and lawyer of the agitating Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) staffers, Gunratan Sadavarte, Raut demanded to know the people “behind” him, at whose house he lives, and who is supporting him financially.

Even when scores of MSRTC employees rushed to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), they all had platform tickets and Raut asked how they could all buy the entry tickets simultaneously and who had provided the money for it.

Raut alleged that Sadavarte has been “propped up” by the BJP under the garb of a labour agitation with the sinister aims of toppling the MVA government but they would not succeed.

Meanwhile, Sadavarte and around 100-plus who were arrested late last night in connection with the attacks, will be produced before a Mumbai Magistrate Court.

Between 100-125 employees of the MSRTC – who are on the warpath since November 2021 – went on a rampage outside Pawar’s home and later carried out a precision attack with stones and shoes, shaking the state and national polity.

The sudden attack has been blamed on “intelligence failure” by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Raut and Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis with demands for a probe into the role of the police and its allegedly delayed response though the media-teams had got advance tip-off and were present there in full strength.

The incident was taken note of at the highest levels including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray while Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil has ordered a police report into the assault.

Taking no chances, the Mumbai Police have beefed up security at the homes of key dignitaries including the CM, DyCM, Transport Minister Anil Parab, the homes of the Pawar clan in Mumbai and Baramati (Pune) and other leaders.

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