Kin trouble: Row over CM Uddhav Thackeray's nephew attending official meet

Mumbai: A controversy erupted on Wednesday over Yuva Sena secretary Varun Sardesai’s presence at a meeting chaired by his uncle and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, with the BJP terming it as the rise of an “alternative power centre”.

Apart from Sardesai, the chief minister’s son, Aaditya Thackeray, who is an MLA from Worli in Mumbai and head of the Yuva Sena, was also present at the meeting held at the state secretariat on Monday. The Yuva Sena is the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena's youth wing.

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In some photographs, Sardesai, the nephew of chief minister’s wife Rashmi Thackeray, was seen attending the meeting chaired by the CM two days back.

Reacting to it, BJP’s chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “It looks like an alternative power centre is being created apart from the chief minister’s office. It should not happen again.”

He said this was a wrong precedence being set by the new government. “It is also violation of the confidentiality of government’s functioning,” Bhandari said.

Commenting on the matter, NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said Thackeray’s is a “completely new government with no administrative experience”.

Malik, whose party is an ally in the Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government, however, also said there should be “no repeat” of the incident.

Sardesai also earlier sought to downplay his presence at the meeting. Talking to PTI, he said it is the chief minister’s prerogative as to who should be present at the official meetings.

“It was a tourism development meeting and what was discussed there is already in public domain. The meeting was not related to sensitive information pertaining to the Home department,” he said.

Sardesai claimed former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ wife Amruta Fadnavis had also attended official meetings when the BJP leader occupied the top post.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday ordered the state tourism department to draft a proposal to develop a multi-level aquarium in Mumbai on the lines of Bangkok-based Ocean World, a popular tourist attraction in Thailand.

His order came after a meeting with officials of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) here. At the meeting, the chief minister reviewed major tourism projects which are under development and also those which have been proposed.