All is not well within the Mahayuti alliance, comprising the Shiv Sena, BJP, RPI (A) after the president of the Republic Party of India, Ramdas Athawale threatened to quit the coalition if further attempts were made to induct the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) into their fold.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference at Tilak Road, Athawale said that his party would quit the Mahayuti if Raj Thackeray was approached again. “The MNS had opposed the Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mill land in Mumbai. So, we opposed them joining the alliance. However, BJP leaders had said that they felt that the anti-Congress votes would be split.
So, the BJP was keen on including the MNS into the alliance. However, even after these efforts were made Raj did not respond positively. If Raj had shown any positive signs, we would have convinced Uddhavji.”
Athawale added that now it was too late and that Raj and his party were now only using Narendra Modi’s name to garner votes in his name. This time, the Mahayuti won’t be affected by the MNS, as they have lost their sheen. The BJP and Sena will gain from the Dalit votes.”
In 2012, MNS chief Raj Thackeray had criticised Dalit leaders for their obsession with the Ambedkar memorial on Indu Mills land in Mumbai. Reacting to this criticism, Athawale had said that for Ambedkar followers, the Indu Mills issue was a matter of self-respect and Raj had insulted Babasaheb Ambedkar by criticising Dalit leaders.