Amit Shah meets Uddhav Thackeray: Speaking to FinancialExpress.com, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that the BJP's ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign is a fallout of its drubbing in bypolls.
Hours before the crucial meeting between BJP national president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, the junior partner of the ruling coalition at the Centre and in Maharashtra took a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign, calling it ‘too little, too late’. Speaking to FinancialExpress.com, Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that the BJP should have done this much earlier and attributed the latest outreach on part of the senior partner as a fallout of its drubbing in bypolls.
“For ‘sampark’ we had to wait for four years… and to start this ‘sampark abhiyan’, BJP had to lose several bypolls,” he said, asserting that there was no change in the Shiv Sena’s stand that it will fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections alone.
Raut further said that his party has no agenda going into the meeting between Shah and Thackeray that was called at the behest of the BJP chief. “We (Shiv Sena) have no agenda. Amit Shah had sought time from Uddhav Thackeray, he will meet at 7 pm at Sena pramukh’s Matoshree residence. If he (Amit Shah) is coming with an agenda, that we will come to know at the time of the meeting,” Raut said.
To a question on whether the party will give its decision a second thought if Shah seeks Shiv Sena’s support for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he replied, “We have taken a decision that in 2019 Shiv Sena will contest independently. Our party has taken a decision we are firm on our party’s stand.”
Another party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai also expressed displeasure at the BJP’s ‘style’ of management, but wasn’t too assertive about the outcome of the meeting. When asked whether the Shiv Sena will continue to support the Maharashtra government for a full five-year term, he said, “People of the state had given a mandate against the Congress and NCP. But now the ball is in the court of the BJP. Let’s see what happens tomorrow (during the meet). What the two party chiefs discuss… Uddhavji will put forward his views and we will decide accordingly.”
No need of ‘poster boy’ in elections: Shiv Sena
In an apparent reference to PM Narendra Modi in its mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, the Shiv Sena said that Palgarh Lok Sabha bypolls has cemented their belief that the party doesn’t need any ‘poster boy’ to fight or win elections. “Why is the BJP doing ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign after their defeat in the recently-held bypolls? Shiv Sena will fight the 2019 general elections on its own strength. The Palghar bypoll has shown the power of the party,” the editorial reads.
It added that the BJP has lost its connect with people who had voted for the party in previous elections. “Despite being in power, the BJP has lost its connection with the people. A party like Shiv Sena has always moved ahead keeping in mind ‘jansampark’ (interaction with people) and ‘janadhar’ ( for the benefit of people), and, it doesn’t require any poster boy to fight or win an election.”
Shah’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign has seen the leader meet people from different walks of life in a bid to inform them of the achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the last four years of which the Shiv Sena is also a part. The meeting between the two leaders comes at a time when relations between the two parties have been hitting new lows. Ties between the two alliance partners deteriorated further following Sena’s defeat in the Palghar Lok Sabha bypolls, prompting an angry Sena to describe the BJP as its ‘biggest political enemy’ and announcing that the party will go solo in the next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
The Shiv Sena has 12 Ministers (5 Cabinet ranks and 7 MoS ranks) in the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra. At the Centre, the party has just one representation – Anant Geete in the Narendra Modi Cabinet. He is the Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.