Shirur MP Amol Kolhe's made the remark which triggered Shiv Sena during the inauguration of Khed and Narayangaon bypass on Saturday. Adhalrao has decided to hold a press conference later in the day to give a "befitting reply" to Kolhe.

A war of words has once again erupted between NCP and Shiv Sena leaders from Shirur parliamentary constituency in Pune district. The Shiv Sena has objected strongly to Shirur MP Amol Kolhe’s statement that Uddhav Thackeray is the Maharashtra chief minister because of the blessings of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

“Shiv Sena decided who should be the chief minister of Maharashtra. And will continue to do so for next 25 years,” former MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil told The Indian Express today (Sunday) morning in response to Kolhe’s statement.

Kolhe made the remark which triggered Shiv Sena during the inauguration of Khed and Narayangaon bypass on Saturday. Adhalrao has decided to hold a press conference later in the day to give a “befitting reply” to Kolhe.

When contacted, Kolhe said he has the utmost respect for the chief minister and shares a good rapport with him. “I am being misunderstood….I had said I have complete respect for Uddhav Thackeray. If anyone has a doubt, they should verify it from my speeches in the Lok Sabha. Unfortunately, in the name of the chief minister, the Sena is frequently criticising me and my party. I had said that if they are doing this by hiding behind the CM, then they should remember that Uddhav Thackeray is the CM because of the blessings of our party chief. The statement was made in this context,” he said.

“I have been consistently and with pride taking up issues related to Maharashtra and those raised and pursued by the MVA Government in Parliament. The CM has also appreciated my speeches,” Kohle added.

Adhalrao, however, said Kolhe was now backtracking because NCP chief Sharad Pawar had pulled him up. “As per my information, our leaders like Sanjay Raut had taken up the issue with the NCP chief who has made it clear that he did not approve such statements regarding the chief minister. And that is why he (Kolhe) has now climbed down,” said Adhalrao.

The controversy erupted on Friday after an invitation card for the bypass inauguration function went viral on social media. Adhalrao quickly objected to it as it did not contain the pictures or name of the chief minister. “I had taken the initiative for the construction of the bypass. It was only after my speech in Lok Sabha, the then Union minister Nitin Gadkari had announced the bypass plan. Tenders were floated during my tenure, a letter of intent and a work order were given. Yet, the Sena has not been given any credit,” said Adhalrao, who inaugurated the bypass a day before Kolhe could do so, triggering the verbal duel.

On his part, Kolhe agreed that Adhalrao initiated the bypass project. “It is true that he (Adhalrao) initiated the project but I chased it with the government and got it completed. I was going to invite him to the function. But before I could do so, he inaugurated it,” Kolhe said.

Kolhe said the Sena has been frequently criticising him and even trying to put hurdles in the development works he intended to carry out. “I have kept quiet for the last two years. Since this was repeatedly happening, I need to highlight it. The CM has given directions to the Sena to start Shiv Sampark Abhiyan to take government initiatives to the people. However, the Sena is instead criticising me and my party. Their leaders are also making statements like they will bury my party. Instead of working together and strengthening the Maha Vikas Aghadi, they are working at cross purposes,” he said.

Adhalrao said he had never criticised the sitting MP. “I have not criticised the sitting MP. Other leaders must have done so,” he said.

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