Shiv Sena today added insult to BJP’s injury after its humiliation in Delhi polls, saying the “broom-wielding” AAP reduced it to “dirt” and virtually demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi accept the blame for it.
“The BJP, which won a resounding majority in the Lok Sabha elections has been turned into ‘dirt’ by the ‘broom- wielding’ Aam Aadmi Party. BJP leaders do not even need fingers to count the number of seats they won. Putting the blame of defeat on Kiran Bedi isn’t right,” Sena said in a scalding editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
Turning a deaf ear to remonstrations by some in the BJP for blaming Modi for the debacle, the editorial said the party should make it clear who would own up to the blame.
“The entire election campaign was run in the name of Modi. Anna Hazare said this is Modi’s defeat. We too feel the same. The way the party attributed its success in other states to Modi, they should do the same for Delhi,” Sena said.
BJP has been steadfast in defending Modi against criticism for the defeat, insisting the Delhi assembly poll was not a referendum on him.
Targeting BJP leaders including Modi for their “negative” election campaign, the Sena said, “Along with Modi, all BJP leaders mocked at (Congress Vice-President) Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal in their speeches. Ultimately, the BJP had to bear the consequences of this negative campaign.”
“Are the Delhi results a start of a new era in politics? Why did people desert the BJP? Unemployment rate has not gone down, inflation is persistent, homeless haven’t got homes and poll promises haven’t been fulfilled,” the editorial said.
“Elections are not merely won on the back of speeches and poll promises. This election has brought to the fore unrest within the party. Amit Shah failed to cast his magic on people and using Modi as the final weapon too failed to yield results,” it said.
The editorial came on the heels of BJP’s angry protest over Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s jibe against Modi following the saffron party’s abject defeat in which he said the “tsunami” in Delhi had proved mightier than the “Modi wave”.
Stung by Uddhav’s comment, an angry Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar had said Shiv Sena should quit the government before targeting Modi.
“If you intend to point barbs at Modiji, who is among the tallest leaders of the BJP and the Prime Minister of this country, then do not stay in the government. Have the courage of first leaving power and then point barbs,” Shelar said.
The sharp exchanges between the Hindutva fellow travellers have brought to the fore the underlying unease in their relations, first witnessed when BJP snapped its ties with Shiv Sena just ahead of the Maharashtra assembly polls last year over seat sharing.
Contesting separately, BJP emerged as the single largest party in the assembly but fell short of a majority, while Sena finished second. Shiv Sena briefly occupied the main Opposition’s space in the House before realigning with BJP and joining the government.
However, Shiv Sena apparently is yet to get over the slight it felt when BJP walked out of the alliance midway through the seat sharing talks. Rough edges in their relations were all too visible when Sena attacked the BJP-led government in Maharashtra over its handling of agrarian issues, particularly farmers suicides.