After announcing to break ties with the BJP for 2019 General Elections, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena might have an option to forge an alliance with BJP’s major rival Congress in Maharashtra. The latest comment by former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan indicates the grand old party is considering the option to rope-in Shiv Sena for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He said that the party might consider roping in Shiv Sena in the Congress-led alliance at the national level once it withdraws support to the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government. “Let the Sena first withdraw support to the Fadnavis government… The Congress leadership might then consider roping it in the alliance led by it,” Chavan, considered close to party president Rahul Gandhi, said, as per a report by The Indian Express.
Chavan said that keeping the National Democratic Alliance intact will be a big challenge for the Bhartiya Janta Party. He said, “The BJP will use its political might to ensure that all its allies, including the Shiv Sena, stay with it. Now with TDP chief and Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu also speaking about charting his own course, the challenge before the BJP is to keep the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) flock together,” as per several media reports.
Earlier, when Shiv Sena announced its “divorce” with the incumbent BJP, the Congress had dubbed the move as laughable. “The Sena remains an ally in the government, and continues to be critical of its policies. The party has scored a century of announcements to pull out of the government which it has not done so far. People do not take the Sena seriously,” Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawan had said.
Notably, on January 23, the Shiv Sena, at a meeting to re-elect Uddhav Thackeray as party president and complete the procedure of organisational polls, resolved to go solo in the 2019 elections. The party, with 63 MLAs and 18 MPs, is an ally of the BJP in the state and Centre.