Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who was seen
without a mask at an event in Nashik on Thursday, took a swipe at Prime
Minister Narendra Modi by saying that he was following PM Modi’s ‘example’. On
the sidelines of the event at Nashik in Maharashtra, some reporters asked the
Rajya Sabha member why he was not wearing a mask, a norm to be followed to
avoid COVID-19 infection.

Also Read: Gap between 2nd dose and ‘precautionary booster’ to be 9-12 months: Report

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells people
to wear mask, but he himself doesn’t wear one. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav
Thackeray wears mask, but Modi is the leader of the nation. I follow the prime
minister and therefore, I do not wear a mask, and even people do not wear
masks,” Raut said while responding to the reporters’ question.

The Shiv Sena spokesperson, however, asked
everyone to take precautionary measures while attending public programmes, reported Mid-Day.

Also Read: PM Modi’s ‘New Year Gift’ for Haldwani in Rs 17,500 cr Uttarakhand projects

“Prohibitory orders are on at present, but
I wish there should be no such curbs during the day as it will stop the
economic growth. (NCP MP) Supriya Sule, (her husband) Sadanand Sule, (NCP
legislator) Prajakt Tanpure, (Maharashtra School Education Minister) Varsha
Gaikwad have been detected positive. Therefore, everyone should take care while
attending public programmes,” Raut said.

Raut agreed to Sharad Pawar’s statement

Raut also agreed with Nationalist Congress
Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar’s statement that the BJP had made overtures to
him to form a government in Maharashtra in 2019 and said the BJP was
‘desperate’ to be in power.

Also Read: PM Modi to lay AIIMS foundation and launch other projects in Haldwani today

The Shiv Sena leader said that they were in
the loop about these developments and “at that time, there were no secrets
between us.” “There was transparency even in (deputy chief minister) Ajit
Pawar’s (early morning) swearing in (with former chief minister and incumbent
leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis),” Raut said while refusing to elaborate

Sharad Pawar on Wednesday in Pune claimed
that he was approached by PM Modi for an alliance in Maharashtra in 2019 and
that he clearly told the Prime Minister that it was not possible. “It was his
(Narendra Modi’s) wish that we (NCP and BJP) should come together. However, I
went to his office and told him it was not possible. I told him that I do not
want to keep him in the dark. Our stand is different,” Pawar recalled during an
event organised by Marathi daily newspaper Loksatta in Pune.

Also Read: Mumbai may pass 2,000 daily COVID cases: Shiv Sena govt on ‘alarming’ spike

When asked about the Prime Minister’s
reaction to his response, the NCP chief said that PM Modi asked him to “think
over it”. “He (Prime Minister) might have thought that by forming this
alliance, they could have formed a stable government in Maharashtra,” Pawar