All is not well in the Mahayuti (the expanded NDA in Maharashtra). Their differences have been stark. BJP’s allies Shinde Sena and Ajit Pawar’s NCP have had their ways to protest against and counter the big brother. Early this week, Shinde Sena’s MP, Gajanan Kirtikar defended his son Amol Kirtikar, who chose to be the Thackeray Sena’s candidate in Mumbai North West constituency that his father will represent till the Lok Sabha gets dissolved. 

The duo had an understanding because the father skipped the electoral battle, but assured he would campaign against the son. According to reports on Friday, he campaigned for his party, and how. On Thursday, he gave his son a clean chit in the under-investigation ‘COVID-19 khichdi scam’. Kirtikar said that even the officers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), who were probing his son knew that there was no scam in his son’s khichdi business. 

Shinde’s MP blunted the ruling alliance’s main weapon of attack much before the CM chose a ‘clean’’ candidate to oppose Amol. One can imagine the BJP’s chagrin, and also wonder what source had given Gajanan Kirtikar the courage to speak up against the PM. Is it just fatherly instinct or something that goes beyond it? Obviously, the veteran has nothing to lose. Kirtikar was the last MP to join Shinde’s rebellion two years ago, and going by the surveys (and the BJP’s strong wish to contest the North West seat), he was out of the race for a poll ticket. 

Kirtikar accused the BJP of hounding its political rivals with the central probe agencies. He asked the PM to stop aiming for more than 400 Lok Sabha seats, and instead take the Parliament in his possession. But in doing so, he should respect his allies, he was reported as saying. And, who benefits? The Opposition bloc and Kirtikar’s contestant son have found ammunition in the outgoing MP’s statements.

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