In a massive statement against Maha Vikas Aghadi ally Congress, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday claimed that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi met with underworld don Karim Lala, in an interview with a local marathi news agency. Talking about the past influence of the underworld over Mumbai, he claimed that the underworld decided who will be the city's commissioner and in the state secretariat. Moreover, he claimed that the entire secretriat would meet don Haji Mastan when he was in town.
"They (underworld) used to decide who will be Mumbai's police commissioner and who will sit in Mantralaya (state secretariat)," Raut said. He added, "When (underworld don) Haji Mastan came to Mantralaya, the entire secretariat would come down to see him. Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)". Congress is yet to comment on Raut's statement.
Karim Lala was one of the three top underworld dons of Mumbai for over two decades, from the sixties to the early eighties, the other two being Mastan Mirza alias Haji Mastan and Varadarajan Mudaliar. Raut claimed he clicked pictures of many gangsters, including Dawood Ibrahim, adding that he had once even rebuked the gangster. Incidentally, Shiv Sena which was founded in 1960s, has held power over Mumbai since 1985.
This comment comes amid discontent among the Sena-NCP-Congress after the expansion of the Maharashtra cabinet with Sena MP Sanjay Raut reportedly unhappy as his brother Sunil Raut missed out on a Cabinet berth. Sena members feel that the NCP has walked away with not only the highest number of portfolios but also the most important ones as the Sena, for example, had to cede the Home and the Finance portfolio. Shiv Sena's 13 ministers (10 - cabinet, 3 - MoS), NCP's 13 ministers (10 - cabinet, 3 - MoS) and Congress' 10 ministers (8 - cabinet, 2 - MoS) took oath on December 31 at 12 PM in the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha.
The 35-year alliance of the Shiv Sena and the BJP fell post-Assembly elections squabbling over a 50-50 power-sharing and shared CM post. While the Sena was in final talks with Congress-NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi, Fadnavis with Ajit Pawar took oath. This BJP-NCP government lasted for four days, failing to win the trust vote, leading to Uddhav Thackeray being sworn in as the first Thackeray CM. The Maha Vikas Aghadi have a 'secular' common minimum programme making it imperative for all parties to take a united stance on national issues - this has been a bone of contention several times for the Hindutva supporting Shiv Sena.