BJP unhappy with Sena for supporting rebel leader

There’s trouble brewing on the saffron front. The Shiv Sena’s open support for a BJP rebel in the teacher’s constituency and plea for support from RPI (A) hasn’t gone down too well with the BJP cadre. Both Sena and BJP candidates, however, lost the elections.

The infighting has forced a comment out of RPI (A) President Ramdas Athawale, who said, “I won’t let the alliance break. I am going to see to it that the alliance stays together. Such small fights can’t destroy an alliance of so many decades. During local elections people do fight. The Congress and NCP fight with each other. We will fight the elections together in 2014.”

He further added, “If the parties continue to fight like this, then we will surely not be in power. To maintain power, people will have to let go their differences and come together.”

In such a scenario, there is fear looming over the alliance’s future over the BJP’s Mumbai convention, scheduled for this Sunday.

According to sources, there is dissent among the party workers with the higher-ups for not doing anything about the highhandedness shown by the Sena in publicly announcing its support for breakaway BJP leader Manisha Kayande.

The BJP supported the candidature of Sharad Yadav, against whom Kayande had rebelled. The results for the graduates’ and teachers’ constituency elections, in which the BJP and Sena are at loggerheads, were announced yesterday. Kayande and Yadav both lost to Lok Bharti candidate Kapil Patil, who retained the seat. Commenting on the loss, a senior BJP leader said, “Our candidate lost because Sena supported Kayande. Had we not fought, we would have won. This is something we should keep in mind in future.”

“The Sena supported a BJP rebel, and in spite of repeated requests from our senior leaders, the Sena paid no heed and went public with their support,” said a senior BJP functionary.

The Sena even went ahead and took the support of Athawale, something that didn’t go down well with the BJP either. “Athawale showed that his loyalties don’t lie with the alliance in whole, but mostly lean towards the Sena,” said another BJP leader, requesting anonymity.

Athawale, on the other hand, claims that he supported the Sena only because he was asked to do so. “Dr Kayande asked for my party’s support, and so I extended it to her. The BJP candidate didn’t ask for my party’s support,” he said.

BJP spokesperson Niranjan Shetty refrained from commenting on the matter. BJP chief Raj Purohit also remained unavailable for comment. 

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