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‘Saamana’ Displays Smiling Modi, Shinde And Fadnavis On Front Page, Miffs Followers

Strange things continue to happen in Maharashtra’s political arena, again and again blurring or highlighting interparty differences.  On Thursday, ardent followers of Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray were shocked when the daily ‘Saamana’ was delivered at their doorstep. The entire front page was displaying smiling images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, state chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. So far, all three names have been taboo for the mouthpiece ever since rebellion took place in the party and the Shinde-Fadnavis government came to power.  Justifying the decision to accept this advertisement, released by the state government, Uddhav’s confidant and former minister Anil Parab said this was not anybody’s private or personal advertisement, it has been released by the government utilizing public money. Parab did not comment on the inclusion of the name of Sena MP Arvind Sawant in the advertisement. Taunting the Uddhav faction about accepting the advertisement, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Sandip Deshpande has questioned it, “How big a ‘box’ has reached ‘Saamana’ office?”  In another development, state Congress president Nana Patole has declared that the Sena under Uddhav is not a ‘natural ally’ of the Congress party. Though Patole is not taken seriously in politics, the timing of this strange comment has miffed the party. Not a single notable Congress leader has reacted to it so far. Incidentally, Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo yatra is scheduled to enter the state soon.