Amaravati’s independent MP Navneer Kaur Rana has alleged that the Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant threatened her in the lobby of the Lok Sabha, warning her of being jailed for talking in the House against the Maharashtra government. In what could be a more serious charge, she has also informed Speaker Om Birla of receiving acid-attack threats through phone calls and on Shiv Sena letterheads. The Sindhudurg member has, however, denied the allegations and, instead, said he would “stand with” the woman member if anyone threatens her with bodily harm.
In a letter dated March 22, Ms Rana has said, “Today, the way Shiv Sena parliamentarian Arvind Sawant has threatened me, it is an insult not just to me but to all the country’s women. Hence I seek the strictest of police action against Arvind Sawant.”
Her letter says that Mr Sawant was angry over her raising the issue of the affairs in the Maharashtra government. According to her, he said, “I’ll see how you roam around in Maharashtra”, and “We will put you, too, behind bars”.
“I became blank at that point (in the Lok Sabha lobby) and immediately turned behind, one of my colleagues was there, and I just asked, ‘Did you hear?’ He said, ‘Yes I heard, Navneet’,” the MP told NDTV narrating the incident inside the Lok Sabha.
“I have complained before, too, to the police and Om Birla ji about all the unwanted letters that I got in the name of Shiv Sena. I got calls saying ‘The beautiful face that you are proud of, we will put acid so that you will not be able to go anywhere…if you talk about Uddhav Thackeray ji‘,” she said, reiterating some of her allegations against Mr Thackeray’s government.
In the Lok Sabha, Ms Rana had raised the matter of suspended Maharashtra cop Sachin Vaze, now arrested for his alleged involvement in the Mukesh Ambani bomb threat case and being probed for the related death of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran. She had also demanded that the Maharashtra government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray step down in the wake of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s corruption allegations.
Mr Sawant, however, rubbished her claims as “outright lies” and instead accused her of being disrespectful and rude while talking in Parliament. If anything, he said, Ms Rana is the one who keeps threatening everyone.
“I have never threatened anyone in my life…Doing that to a woman is out of the question,” he asked in a video message responding to her allegation. “The House bars naming anyone from outside…but she does it and it goes on the record. Some people are skilled in twisting things and gaining publicity.”
Mr Sawant said she was angry because Anandrao Adsu, the Shiv Sena’s defeated 2019 candidate for Amaravati, had filed a case against her over her caste certificate.
Referring to the alleged acid-attack threats against her, he said, “I condemn anyone who indulges in such acts (acid attack). If anyone even tries it, I will be standing with Navneet Rana.”