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CM SHINDE DEMOTES KESARKAR TO POST OF PARTY WHIP

Mumbai: A day after Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s political group spokesperson, Deepak Kesarkar, embroiled himself in a controversy with Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise, Narayan Rane, he was demoted to the post of party whip.

The Shinde-led Sena (including 40 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs and 10 independent MLAs) had earlier taken issue with the BJP over criticism targeting the Uddhav Thackeray family. The faction had advised restraint from directing any comments against ‘Matoshree’ the Thackeray family’s home in Mumbai city. However, the shoe is obviously on the other foot now.

Even as Kesarkar was demoted by Shinde, Kiran Pawaskar was appointed as the political formation’s secretary along with Sanjay More, who was given charge as the party spokesperson. More promptly paid a visit to the Rane residence to assuage feelings after Kesarkar’s inadvertent comments. Other spokespersons of the Shinde camp include Gulabrao Patil, Uday Samant and Sheetal Mhatre.

Kesarkar told the media that he would henceforth refrain from making any comments regarding the Rane family and expressed his willingness to work with them. Meanwhile, upping the ante against Kesarkar, Rane’s elder son Nitesh—who is an MP--took pot shots at the former Shinde faction spokesperson and said that his vehicle driver’s post was soon becoming vacant and that Kesarkar was welcome to take up the job.

The Shinde faction has been touchy about the Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray and his family, despite their rebellion bringing about the collapse of the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government. They have consistently held that although they broke rank with their parent organization, they still consider Uddhav Thackeray as their party leader and have even expressed a wish for reconciliation.

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