The Shiv Sena (UBT) and the BJP tussled after Sanjay Raut accused Chandrashekhar Bawankule of allegedly spending Rs 3.5 crore while gambling at a Macao casino
Sanjay Pandey. File Pic
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra tussled on Monday after Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut reportedly accused the BJP's Maharashtra unit chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule of allegedly spending Rs 3.5 crore while gambling at a Macao casino, reported the PTI.
ते म्हणे..— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) November 20, 2023
फॅमिल सह मकाऊ ला गेले आहेत..जाऊ द्या.
त्यांची सोबत बसलेली फॅमिली चिनी आहे का?
कधीच जुगार खेळले नाहीत..
मग ते नक्की काय करीत आहेत? त्यांच्या टेबलावर मारुती स्तोत्र आहे का?
जेवढे खुलासे कराल तेवढे फसाल!
झाला तेवढा तमाशा पुरेसा नाही काय!@BJP4Maharashtra… pic.twitter.com/aIjd3eJTO0
According to the PTI, the BJP responded by uploading on social media a photograph of Sanjay Raut's colleague and former Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray with a glass in his hand and queried "what brand of whiskey" the former state minister was drinking.
As per the news news agency, Sanjay Raut had posted a picture of Bawankule that he claimed was from a casino in Macao, a special administrative region of China.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) leader alleged Bawankule had spent Rs 3.5 crore in just three hours while gambling there.
Hitting back, the BJP said on its X account that "our state unit president Bawankule had never played gambling in his life" and that "he was staying there with his family".
Attacking Sanjay Raut, the BJP further said "those whose entire life had become a gamble cannot see anything else," as per the PTI.
Uploading a photograph, the BJP said, "We want Sanjay Raut to reveal what brand of whiskey is in the glass of Aaditya Thackeray?"
The PTI reported, while talking to reporters later in the day, Sanjay Raut said, "I have 27 photos and five videos of him (Bawankule), but I have the decency not to publish them. If I make those videos public, it will cause major embarrassment to him and the party,"
"All I demand is what exactly was he doing there. I am told by someone present there that he spent nearly Rs 3.5 crore in just one night. I was aware of (stamp paper prime accused) Telgi spending Rs 1 crore in just one night at a dance bar. Should we call his (Bawankule) extravagant spending as acche din?" Sanjay Raut said attacking Bawankule.
Sanjay Raut said that the more the BJP tries to hide or suppress the issue, the more it will get exposed.
"If Bawankule was not gambling, what was he doing at the casino table? He spent Rs 3.5 crore in just three hours. He made the payment in US dollars," Raut alleged.
Maharashtra is plagued with several burning issues and its people are suffering but Bawankule is having fun at the Venetian Macao, known for casinos and gambling, he claimed.
It does not look nice, Sanjay Raut added.
When queried about Aaditya Thackeray's photograph, Sanjay Raut shot back and said, "Whatever Prime Minister Narendra Modi drinks from his glass is the same drink Aaditya was seen drinking."
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said the issue showed the "distorted mentality" and "frustration" of Sanjay Raut, the PTI reported on Monday.
Devendra Fadnavis claimed Bawankule was there with his family and they were having food at a restaurant which also houses the casino.
"On purpose, an incomplete photo has been uploaded. The complete photo clearly shows Bawankule, his wife, daughter and his entire family. Hence, this kind of distorted mentality should end somewhere because so much frustration is not proper," Devendra Fadnavis said attacking Sanjay Raut.
Such allegations by morphing and editing photos were lowering the level of politics, Devendra Fadnavis asserted.
(with PTI inputs)