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Is Shiv Sena MP Tukaram Patil with Mah CM?

Prasanna D Zore in Mumbai | July 21, 2008 18:12 IST

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As the clock ticks towards the vote on the confidence motion in the Lok Sabha moved by Dr Manmohan Singh's [Images] government the Shiv Sena is in a tizzy over its missing MP from Maharashtra's Parbhani constituency, Tukaram Reghe Patil.

Patil, one of the Sena's 12 MPs, has been into hiding since last Friday when he and his son Bala Patil attended a religious function in Pandharpur on the occasion of the Aashadhi Ekadashi festival.

"My father left for Mumbai to attend a Sena meeting in Mumbai on July 18; ever since I haven't heard from him," his son told over the telephone. This has added grist to the grapevine as some senior Sena leaders believe that Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is responsible for his absence.

"Both Deshmukh and Tukaram Patil belong to the Marathwada region," says Ravindra Wairkar of the Shiv Sena who currently holds the position of chariman of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's standing committee. He said it could not be ruled out that the Maharashtra chief minister is responsible for Tukaram Patil's absence.

"If at all he (Deshmukh) is responsible, then it's indeed a shame for Indian democracy," Wairkar said.

The Sena is worried about the missing MP as it has a sense of deja vu. During the no confidence motion against the P V Narasimha Rao government in 1993 the abstention of then Shiv Sena MP from Mumbai South Central Mohan Rawale allowed the Rao government to win the trust vote. Rawale excused himself from the vote, citing an upset stomach.

Patil who left for Mumbai on Friday to attend a meeting held at Shiv Sena supreme Bal Thackeray's home on Saturday did not turn up for that event.

"He was voted as our legislator from Parbhani for more than 12 years and in 2004 our supporters voted him as their MP," Wairkar said of Patil's missing act. He said Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray's efforts to reach Patil have also been futile.

"Uddhavji had called me on Saturday night," Bala Patil, the missing MP's son said, "but I told him that my father has not contacted us since Friday."

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