Condemning the arrest of Union minister Narayan Rane, the BJP said on Tuesday that the Maharashtra government's action goes against constitutional values.
The Maharashtra Police on Tuesday afternoon arrested Rane for his 'slap' slur against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, even as agitated Shiv Sena workers protested vociferously all over the state. Rane had allegedly threatened to 'slap' Uddhav Thackeray, sparking fresh tension between the BJP and the Shiv Sena.
The Maharashtra police arrested Rane from Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri in the Konkan region of the state.
Reacting to the arrest of Rane, BJP chief J.P. Nadda said in a social media post, "The arrest of Union Minister Narayan Rane ji by the Maharashtra government is a violation of constitutional values. We will neither be scared nor suppressed by such action. These people are troubled by the immense support the BJP is getting in the 'Jan Aashirwad Yatra'. We will continue to fight democratically and the Yatra will go on."
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Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, "Action against Union minister Narayanrao Rane is absolute vendetta. We strongly condemn this gross misuse of police force and suppression. Sharjeel Usmani is free but Narayan Rane is arrested. This is their 'Hindutva' and this is what Maharashtra looks like."
Condemning the arrest of Rane, BJP national General Secretary and Maharashtra in-charge C.T. Ravi said, "I strongly condemn the arrest of Union minister and senior leader Rane by the ‘Maha Vasooli Aghadi' government. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey is behaving like a dictator who is protecting the corrupt while arresting those who question him."
Condemning the 'barbaric manner' of Rane's arrest, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal, said that the BJP will continue to fight for safeguarding democratic values.
Meanwhile, Rane became the third Union minister to be arrested by any state police. In 2001, Cabinet ministers in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, late Murasoli Maran and T.R. Baalu were arrested by the Chennai police.
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On Tuesday afternoon, Fadnavis had dropped hints at the upcoming possibilities, stating that if Rane gets arrested, the party has kept a Plan B ready to carry forward the ongoing Jan Ashirwad Yatra.
However, while the BJP has categorically rejected Rane's statements, the party has vowed to stand by him in the current crisis, Fadnavis said.