With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cosying up with the Shiv Sena’s archrival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the Sena may go solo in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
For decades, the Sena has had a seat-sharing alliance with the BJP for elections.
However, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party may choose to break away after the MNS decided to field candidates against it in three city constituencies, even as the latter claimed to support Narendra Modi’s candidature as prime minister.
Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut confirmed that party members had called for fighting elections independently. “There is a demand from Sainiks to go independent. A discussion on the same will take place at Matoshree on Tuesday, in presence of district presidents.”
However, the BJP doesn’t seem bothered. In fact, party workers were seen in a celebratory mood as the rumours of the break-off gained momentum.
A senior BJP leader, said, “Our party men would be happy if we contest alone. I remember, when Meenakshi Lekhi had come to Mumbai, many workers told her that they want to vote for Modi, but that in their constituency there’s a Sena or an RPI candidate and they don’t want to vote for them. If we have only BJP candidates, we shall surely make it with the Modi wave.”
The Sena is miffed with BJP after the latter’s top leaders, like Nitin Gadkari, Vinod Tawde and Ashish Shelar, have been meeting with the MNS. Gadkari had asked MNS to refrain from contesting in upcoming polls, and Tawde had approached Raj Thackeray to gain MNS’ support in the state council polls.
If sources are to be believed, Uddhav Thackeray has lost his cool and patience with the BJP.
However, a few senior Sena leaders tried dismissing the rumours. A senior Sena leader added, “While it seems unlikely that Uddhav will announce any alliance break up for the Lok Sabha polls, for the assembly elections he is in a mood to teach the BJP a hard lesson.”
The final word on the decision will only come out after the party top brass meets today at Matoshree.
Pawar as PM?
There is a possibility that Uddhav Thackeray may announce his support for Sharad Pawar as a Marathi PM candidate. Even in the last Lok Sabha elections, Pawar was eyeing a third front till the last moment. Bal Thackeray, in Saamana, had expressed his wish to have a Marathi manoos as the PM. It seems Uddhav is using the same to put BJP in a corner. — Ravikiran Deshmukh