BJP leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Tuesday slammed Sanjay Raut, the executive editor of Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', and asked whether he had given up the post of Shiv Sena's spokesperson and taken up the same position in the Congress.
He also reiterated his claim that Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat contemplated joining the BJP some years ago. Both he and Thorat hail from Ahmednagar district, and are known to be bitter rivals.
Vikhe Patil's remarks came a day after the Shiv Sena said in 'Saamana' that his criticism of Thorat showed the BJP leader's "desperation" of not being in power.
On Tuesday, Vikhe Patil, who quit the Congress last year and joined the BJP, wrote a letter to Raut and posted it on his Twitter handle, saying people of Ahmednagar had given the mandate to his family to represent them.
"Our commitment is to the people and does not shift between Silver Oak (NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence) or Matoshree (Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's home). We may have changed parties, but have remained loyal to the leadership of whichever party we represented," he said.
"I am happy in the BJP. But despite projecting yourself as the architect of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA- comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress), you could not get ministerial post for your own brother...have you taken up the post of state Congress spokesperson during the lockdown period and given up that post in the Shiv Sena?" he asked Raut.
The Sena mouthpiece on Monday also said years ago, a (Marathi) film 'Thoratanchi Kamala' (Thorat's Kamala) was released. "Now Vikhe-Patalanchi Kamala (Vikhe Patil's Kamala) film has been released and has flopped," it said.
The BJP's party symbol lotus is called 'kamal' in Marathi. Referring to the remarks in 'Saamana', Vikhe Patil reiterated his claim that Thorat contemplated joining the BJP some years ago.
"If the attempt to join the BJP was successful, your description (in Saamana) would have been apt," he said. Thorat, who is the state's revenue minister, met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last week amid talk of the Congress sulking over not having enough say in the MVA government.
The Congress leader said his party was not feeling sidelined and that the ruling alliance was stable.
After the meeting, Vikhe Patil had reportedly attacked Thorat, saying he had never seen "such a helpless for power" state unit president of the party.
Thorat later retorted, saying he had seen Vikhe Patil bow before the previous chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis).