BJP's Shelar steps up attack on Maha minister, also slams CM

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Mumbai, Feb 23 (PTI) The opposition BJP in Maharashtra on Tuesday stepped up its attack on Shiv Sena minister Sanjay Rathod over his alleged link to the death of a woman in Pune and also slammed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for shielding him on the issue.

Rathod has denied any link with the death of the 23- year-old woman, who died apparently after falling from a building in Pune's Hadapsar area on February 8.

Former state education minister and BJP leader Ashish Shelar sought to know why Thackeray, who is also the Shiv Sena president, is maintaining 'silence' over the issue.

The way chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has remained mum over the issue, shows he is supporting Rathod. The BJP has been witnessing various methods used by ruling parties to hide their misdeeds,' Shelar said.

It was unfortunate that Rathod used his communitys name to defend himself, he said.

Shelar raised questions over Rathods 'disappearance' from public view in the last 10 to 15 days after his named was linked to the death of the woman.

The way Rathod was not seen in public for some days, I hope that does not happen with the inquiry (in the woman's death) too,' the BJP leader said.

Talking to reporters after visiting the Pohradevi Temple in Washim, Rathod claimed 'dirty politics' was being played following the woman's 'unfortunate' death.

The Shiv Sena leader expressed confidence that the truth will come out following a probe into the matter.

'I can tell you that there is no substance in what is being said in the media and on social media,' said Rathod.

On Tuesday, the minister travelled by road from his residence in Yavatmal to the Pohradevi Temple in neighbouring Washim, where he sought blessings and took part in rituals.

A large number of Rathod's supporters thronged the venue in apparent violation of social distancing norms which are in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

'The crowd at the event in Washim district also shows our intelligence (department) in a poor light. Who is going to be held responsible for such failures, Shelar wondered. PTI ND RSY RSY