Angry activists of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) staged massive protests and a 'jail-bharo' agitation after the ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party leader called senior leader Sharad Pawar as a "reincarnation" of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, here on Friday.
Scores of activists shouting anti-BJP slogans and carrying placards marched to Azad Maidan ground and courted arrest there, and they were bundled into waiting police vans which drove them to the Yellow Gate Police Station.
The NCP has demanded stringent action against ex-BJP MP Dr Nilesh Rane, the elder son of Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane for his defamatory tweet against the NCP patriarch and said it must be yanked off immediately.
NCP Chief Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase dared the government of Shiv Sena Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and BJP's Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis to act against Dr Nilesh Rane - the brother of BJP MLA Nitesh Rane - "if they have any morality left".
He said that "secularism is the soul of Sharad Pawar and any such attempts will put secularism in danger in the country", and now it's the duty of the government to uphold the Constitution.
Several NCP leaders like Mumbai President Narendra Rane, Rakhee Jadhav, National Spokesperson Clyde Crasto, Aarti Salvi, Naseeb Siddiqui, Bhawna Ghanekar, Pramod Patil, Mehbub Shaikh, Nilesh Bhosale, Surekha Pednekar, Raj Rajaprkar, Mahendra Pansare, Prashant Patil and others were arrested by the police.
"Whenever elections approach, Sharad Pawar starts worrying about Muslims. Sometimes it makes one wonder if Sharad Pawar is the reincarnation of Aurangzeb," said Dr Nilesh Rane.
His comments evoked sharp reactions from the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders who attacked the BJP.
Congress has termed the remarks as "highly objectionable", Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut asked if this is "the BJP's new culture" and NCP MLA Amol Mitkari called Dr Nilesh Rane a "chameleon" (who has changed several parties) who is surviving solely on the BJP's mercy.
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