In the run up to the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray released an audio clip, purportedly of Maharashtra chief minister asking BJP workers to use all possible means to win the by-election, even as Devendra Fadnavis today termed it "twisted".
Fadnavis said he was ready to face action if what he said in the clip was found to be inappropriate.
He also released a 14-minute audio clip, claiming that it was the complete version of the "twisted" clip that was released by Thackeray during a rally yesterday.
In the audio clip, Fadnavis is purportedly heard exhorting BJP workers to win the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll, slated for May 28, by using all means.
"The Shiv Sena can see it is losing and has, thus, stooped to such levels. The Sena twisted my audio clip and presented it before the people to misguide them.
"The full audio clip is 14 minutes long. I will myself submit this audio clip to the Election Commission," Fadnavis said while addressing a poll rally in suburban Vasai.
The chief minister alleged that the Sena had edited the clip.
"My last sentence in the clip was that we are in power, but we will never misuse it. This line they never released. Had they shown it, their claims would have fallen flat," he said.
"Listen to the whole clip released by the Sena. If there is anything wrong that I have said, I am ready to face action," Fadnavis said.
Speaking at a rally last evening, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had released the audio clip, in which Fadnavis was purportedly heard asking BJP workers to use "saam, daam, dand, bhed" (all possible means) to win the Palghar by-election.
"If somebody is challenging our existence in Palghar and has betrayed our trust, back-stabbed us, while calling itself our ally, then they should be taught a lesson. We should not be sitting quiet now. We should also launch a big attack and show them what the BJP is," Fadnavis is purportedly heard telling BJP workers in the clip.
"If we want to win this election, then an answer has to be given in the same measure… Give an answer by using 'saam, daam, dand, bhed' (negotiation, money, punishment and division).
"Do not tolerate anybody's bullying. On the contrary, bully them… I will stand behind you," the chief minister is heard saying in the clip.
The BJP said it would complain to the Election Commission (EC) about the Sena's alleged "misuse of technology".
After releasing the audio yesterday, Thackeray had demanded that the EC act against Fadnavis.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the use of such language against an opponent did not befit a chief minister.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Ashok Chavan sought Fadnavis' clarification on the audio clip.
"The CM should issue a clarification about the clip. We demand a probe into it and appropriate action by the Election Commission," Chavan said.
"If the clip is authentic, then the chief minister should immediately resign, but if it is fake, then Fadnavis should take action against Uddhav Thackeray," Chavan tweeted.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik demanded a probe by the EC and a complaint against the chief minister under section 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
"If the chief minister is threatening people in such a manner, then it amounts to vitiating the election atmosphere," he said.
"The chief minister and ordinary citizens are all equal before law when it comes to following the election code of conduct. The Shiv Sena should make a written complaint to the EC instead of resorting to such tactics," Malik said.
Responding to the clip and the allegations, BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, "The Sena is showing an incomplete and edited audio clip, because it is shaken foreseeing its imminent defeat."
"We will complain to the Election Commission about the condemnable misuse of technology and also release the full clip," he said.