Union minister Narayan Rane -- out on bail after being arrested for his controversial "slap" remark on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray -- remained defiant today. Citing Mr Thackeray's earlier "will hit with slippers" comment about his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath -- which is being discussed in social media -- he contended that his remark was no different.
Then in a jibe at Mamata Banerjee, one of most voluble opposition leaders, he added, "We won't let Maharashtra become West Bengal... Thackeray government is a guest for a few days".
Mr Thackeray, an NDA ally, had broken off in 2019 after months of acting the in-house opposition of the BJP.
A three-year-old video clip of him criticising Yogi Adityanath was widely circulated on social media today in the wake of the action against Mr Rane.
"He wore chappals (slippers) while garlanding Shivaji. I felt like hitting him with the same chappal. Who are you to even stand before a statue of Maharaj?" Mr Thackeray had said.
Mr Rane, a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet, was arrested yesterday and got bail late in the evening, nearly nine hours in police custody.
"Considering the reason for arrest and other reasons, I found that the arrest is justified," said the judge at a Raigad court who granted him bail, reported news agency Press Trust of India.
The Sena has filed multiple cases against Mr Rane. The Maharashtra government has said it would not take any coercive action against the Union minister.
The 69-year-old sparked off a row during his address at the Jan Ashirwad Yatra, saying it was "shameful" that the Chief Minister does not know the year of India's independence.
According him, the Chief Minster needed to clarify it with an aide during his address on Independence Day. "Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap," said the minister, a former leader of Mr Thackeray's Shiv Sena who joined the BJP in 2019 and became known as a Sena baiter.
Asked about being dubbed a "gangster" in an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamna, Mr Rane said, "Shiv Sena made me the Chief Minister. Who makes a gangster the chief minister?"