Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Tuesday officially passed a resolution not to align with Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-led BJP and contest in 2019 General Elections as well as the Maharashtra Assembly elections alone. Sena Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut moved the resolution, saying BJP had been demoralising his party for the last three years. “I moved the resolution for the Shiv Sena to fight the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha poll on its own in 2019,” Raut was quoted as saying by PTI. He added that Sena will win at least 25 Lok Sabha seats (out of a total 48 in Maharashtra) and 125 Assembly seats (out of a total 288) in the state. “The BJP allied with the Sena in the name of Hindutva and the Sena kept patience for Hindutva. However, the BJP in the last three years has been demoralising the Sena and using power to do so,” Raut said.
Sena and BJP are considered natural allies because of the similar ideology they share and they have remained on good terms for decades.
Even now, both parties are part of the government at the Centre and in the state. However, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis was not surprised with the news of Sena announcing a break-up of the alliance for 2019 elections.
Fadnavis, who is in Davos to attend World Economic Forum, downplayed the salvos fired by Sena. “They (Shiv Sena) have been saying a lot of things. I don’t want to comment on them. As of now, we are in government. The BJP and Shiv Sena will complete its full term and whatever it takes, I am sure we will get the next term as well,” Fadnavis told ANI.
Both BJP and Sena have been sharing a sour relationship since the BJP came to power in Maharashtra, which was previously considered the citadel of Shiv Sena. Meanwhile, the opposition have attacked Sena, saying people do not take the party seriously. In fact, Opposition Congress and NCP not just scoffed at Sena’s announcement fight in 2019 alone but also asked why it continues to be in the BJP-led government even now.
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant was quoted as saying by PTI that Sena’s decision as laughable” and “illogical”. “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. The people do not take the Sena seriously,” he said.
Similarly, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik demanded the Sena to withdraw its support to BJP-led state government and face mid-term
polls. “We are ready for elections,” he said.
Malik alleged that Sena is fearing defection from its ranks and it is stopping the party from pulling out of the government. “The party is unable to come to terms with being the younger brother in the alliance with the BJP,” he said.