Mumbai, Sep 29 :  Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar today said the Shiv Sena will pay heavily for “mocking and belittling” the Maratha community, adding that the ‘Saamana’ cartoonist has been made a scapegoat by the saffron party. The office of Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ at Sanpada in Navi Mumbai was stoned two days ago over a cartoon it had carried alluding to the ongoing Maratha rallies. The cartoonist Shrinivas Prabhudesai had yesterday expressed regret over his work. Addressing reporters here today, Pawar said, “People from across the political spectrum agree that the demands of the Maratha community are valid.

At a time when they are organising peaceful and silent protests, the Sena is busy mocking and belittling them. I am hundred per cent sure that they will pay a very high price for doing this.” “While the cartoonist has expressed his regret, everybody knows that it is the editor of the newspaper, who is finally responsible for ensuring that no content that hurts sentiments gets published in his newspaper, or does not cause a law and order problem. Also Read: Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare will spend Diwali in jail, says Kirit Somaiya

In this case, the cartoonist was merely made a ‘bali ka bakra’ (scapegoat),” he said. ‘Saamana’ Executive Editor Sanjay Raut had said that there was no reason for him to apologise and that the cartoon had not caused any kind of dent or electoral damage to the party. Pawar further said the NCP has not yet got into an alliance with the Congress for the upcoming local body polls. “We are still in the process of a dialogue and no concrete decision has been taken as yet. But, this is clear…We want an alliance that gives us a respectable share of seats,” he said. “We will not back any Congress candidate until we have fixed a formula. If the Congress puts up its candidates without a consensus, we will put ours as well,” Pawar added.