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It’s better to travel by helicopter and do farming than take photos from it: Eknath Shinde

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Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Apr 4 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday launched a veiled attack on his former party head Uddhav Thackeray, quipping that it’s better to travel by helicopter and do farming than take photos from it.

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Shinde, who heads the Shiv Sena, was in Hingoli for the filing of nomination of his newly announced party candidate Baburao Kadam. Earlier, the party had fielded sitting MP Hemant Patil for the seat.

Addressing a rally, Shinde said, “I’m criticised for travelling by helicopter (to a farm) and doing farming. But why is there so much pain when the son of a farmer becomes a chief minister? It is better to travel on a helicopter and do farming than do photography from it,” he said.

The CM added, “When I engage in farming, my hands reach the soil and I’m connected to it.” Thackeray, who headed the original Shiv Sena before a rebellion by Shinde split it in June 2022, is known for his passion for photography. The former Maharashtra chief minister had in the past taken aerial shots of forts in the state and published photo books.

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Shinde’s Shiv Sena is now a part of the ruling ‘Mahayuti’ alliance, also comprising BJP and Ajit Pawar-led NCP. Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress and NCP (SP) under Sharad Pawar belong to the opposition bloc Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

Talking about the Maratha reservation, an issue that kept his government on edge on several occasions, Shinde said, “We have given our word to the Maratha community regarding the quota and our government fulfils its promises. Some individuals are trying to gain political mileage out of this issue, but people from the community should be cautious of such people.” Thursday is the last day for filing nominations in Hingoli and the neighbouring districts of Parbhani and Nanded. These seats will go to polls in the first phase on April 26.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Hemant Patil of undivided Shiv Sena had defeated Congress nominee Subhash Wankhede by 2.77 lakh votes.

While Shiv Sena first renominated Patil in Hingoli, it replaced him with Baburao Kadam on Wednesday night. Kadam will face Nagesh Patil Ashtikar of Shiv Sena (UBT).

The elections to Maharashtra’s 48 Lok Sabha seats will be held in five phases between April 19 and May 20 and votes will be counted on June 4. PTI AW NR

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