Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra minister Deepak Kesarkar, a loyalist of chief minister Eknath Shinde, attributed Shiv Sena (UBT)’s stellar performance in the Mumbai region to “fatwas”. He claimed Muslims voters were convinced that Uddhav Thackeray had forsaken the Hindutva ideology.

Mumbai: NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole at a press conference, in Mumbai.

Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena won seven of the 15 parliamentary seats it contested in Maharashtra. Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) won nine seats, including three in the Mumbai region.

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Belying the exit polls, the Opposition’s Maha Vikas Aghadi won 31 of the 48 seats in Maharashtra. The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won just 17 seats.

Deepak Kesarkar claimed “the fatwas helped Shiv Sena (UBT) win seats in Mumbai”.

“If you deduct that , every Shiv Sena candidate would have been defeated by over 1-1.5 lakh votes,” he added.

The minister alleged that Muslim voters were convinced that Uddhav Thackeray had “forsaken” Hindutva ideology and the ideals of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.

He claimed Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena secured the votes of Mumbaikars and Marathi voters.

He alleged a conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan to undermine Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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“Two ministers in Pakistan advocated for Modi’s defeat and, regrettably, some individuals here paid heed to their calls,” he claimed.

The Opposition misled the Dalit communities with their false claim that the Constitution would be changed if Narendra Modi came to power again, Deepak Kesarkar added.

In 2022, Eknath Shinde spearheaded a rebellion in undivided Shiv Sena against Uddhav Thackeray over the latter’s decision to form a coalition with ideologically opposite Congress and NCP. He toppled the Thackeray government and formed his own in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Thackeray later called him a traitor.

Nationally, the BJP ended up 32 seats short of a simple majority as it won polls in 240 Lok Sabha constituencies. The party will need the support of Nitish Kumar, N Chandrababu Naidu and Eknath Shinde to form a government at the Centre.

With inputs from PTI

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