Lone MLA of Raj Thackeray-led MNS, Sharad Sonawane on Monday returned to his parent party Shiv Sena in Mumbai. Sonawane, who represents Junnar assembly constituency in Pune district, was the only saving grace for Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in 2014 assembly polls, which saw a sharp decline of the party in Maharashtra politics.
Sonawane, along with his supporters, joined Sena in presence of party president Uddhav Thackeray. The MLA said he spoke to Raj Thackeray and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis before joining the Sena. Assembly elections in Maharashtra are due in October this year.
Junnar assembly segment is part of Shirur Lok Sabha constituency, which is currently represented by Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil.
The Shiv Sena on Monday said patriotism is not the monopoly of a single party and falsely calling people "anti-national" just because they are political opponents is nothing but suppression of freedom of expression.
The party's remarks come amid a row over politicisation of the air strike. "Patriotism is not the monopoly of a single party...we wonder when politicians will understand that the action (air strike) was part of duty (of soldiers) and not a task asked to be carried out," the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
Those demanding proof of the air strike and the ones seeking votes donning military fatigues are equally wrong, the Sena said, referring to Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari who wore military fatigues at a recent rally.
The Sena said it was an insult to the soldiers and their courage. "Why act frivolously by wearing soldiers' uniforms which they have obtained after rigorous training and hard work? It supports the allegations of the Opposition that the BJP is politicising the air strike," said the Sena, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra.
The terror attack in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed was more serious than the air strike and images of the carnage in Kashmir could be used by the Opposition to corner those in power, the editorial in 'Saamna' said.
"We have basically failed to prevent the casualties of our soldiers, but some wear the camouflage (outfits) and campaign for political reasons. It doesn't look good when the Election Commission has to intervene and ask the political parties not to use images of jawans in political campaigns," it said.
The Sena lauded the "real courage" shown by wives of slain Army officers Colonel Santosh Mahadik and Major Prasad Mahadik, Swati Mahadik and Gauri Mahadik respectively, for their decision to undergo rigorous training and join the armed forces to serve the country.