MUMBAI: Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, demanding sacking of Union minister Narayan Rane over his remarks against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Raut said it was beyond his comprehension what message Rane would give to the society when he himself was using such language.

“It is also an insult to the prime minister of this country,” Raut said in the letter.

Union Minister Rane has sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping Chief Minister Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter’s ignorance of the year of India’s independence.

“It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap,” Rane said during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in adjoining Raigad district on Monday.

The BJP leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister claimed Thackeray forgot the year of independence during his August 15 address to the people of the state.

Thackeray had to check the year of independence with his aides midway during the speech that day, Rane said Mentioning Rane’s remarks, Raut in his letter to the PM said, “I believe a person like Rane, who forgets the post he is representing, has no right to continue on it. It is my humble request to you to seek his resignation and remove him from your cabinet.”

Raut, who had earlier defeated Narayan Rane’s son Nilesh from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat, expressed hope that the prime minister will take immediate action in connection with the matter.

NCP’s Maharashtra unit president Jayant Patil, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in the state as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, criticised the language used by Rane against the CM.

“The language used by Union minister Narayan Rane is condemnable. It also shows what kind of cabinet colleagues Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gathered around him,” Patil told reporters here.

The NCP leader said he does not recall use of such language earlier by any politician.

Shiv Sena workers held agitations in parts of the state to protest Rane’s remarks.

The Sena and BJP activists also clashed with each other over the issue near Rane’s residence in Mumbai.

Patil, who is the state water resources minister, said he was not aware whether Shiv Sena workers alone were involved in the violence in some parts of the state.

“The state home department will have a better information about it,” he said.

Asked if such incidents were lowering the standard of the state’s politics, Patil said, “The standard of politics has not gone down, but some people have stooped low. Rane’s comments against Thackeray are not only an insult of the CM, but also of the people.”

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said Rane’s remarks against CM Thackeray are against the state’s culture.

“Earlier, we thought that more number of ministers (from Maharashtra) in the Union ministry would benefit the state. But, such a statement from Narayan Rane is disturbing the state’s environment,” Patole told reporters in Nanded.

‘We protest against his statement,” he said, adding that law will take its course against those who commit offences.

Shiv Sena’s youth wing leader Varun Sardesai asked whether senior BJP leaders approved of the language used by Rane against Thackeray.

“Is this the same BJP of (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee or (Lal Krishna) Advani? They should come clean on it,” said Sardesai, the cousin of state cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray, who is the CM’s son.

The Sena leader also said they did not ask anyone to gather outside Rane’s residence in Mumbai.

Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Hasan Mushrif also criticised the Union minister’s remarks and alleged that the BJP was deliberately stoking a controversy through leaders like Rane “to destabilise the MVA government”.

“I do not think they will succeed in it,” he said.

State agriculture minister and Shiv Sena leader Dada Bhuse said, “Rane seems to be sick and needs some medical attention. The BJP, in its dirty politics, is playing with the lives of people.”

The COVID-19 situation is still serious, he said, while referring to gatherings during Rane’s yatra in the state.