Shiv Sena fumes over 'don't vote' Facebook page
The one political party in the country that’s adept at using social media to boost its image is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is why when a page was created on Facebook on September 27, titled “Say No 2 Shiv Sena”, the party’s suspicious needle immediately pointed towards its now-on, now-off ally.
Screenshots of the Facebook page which was created on September 27
While the page’s owner remains anonymous, it’s significant that it’s been created at a time when the two parties are slated to go their separate ways in the Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) elections, polling for which is slated for November 1. Allies at KDMC for the last 20 years, the two parties decided to go solo this year.
Sources say that while the Sena is keen on a tie-up, the local BJP prefers going it alone. The “Say NO 2 Shiv Sena Page” has photos of Sena leaders — president Uddhav Thackeray, chairperson Aditya Thackeray, party MLA Eknath Shinde and Shinde’s son Shrikant Shinde (also an MP from Kalyan) — and talks of why the party should not be voted for. Residents of the municipality have pitched in, discussing the pathetic state of roads.
To add salt to their wounds, the page also accuses senior Thackeray of having defamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past. The Sena, however, hasn’t lodged a complaint with the election commission.
Shinde Sr, who is also guardian minister of Kalyan, laughs. “People are educated. They know that a Sainik stands behind them through the year. He is present in their sorrows and their happiness. People are afraid of us, that’s why such publicity is created.”
BJP refutes allegations of the Facebook page being their poll strategy. “We don’t get into negative publicity. If we had created a page, it would have been about us. Why would we write about the Sena?” counters Kapil Patil, BJP MP from Bhiwandi, who is heading the KDMC campaign.
Another BJP MLA, Narendra Pawar from Kalyan, adds, “We are talking only about development. As we are in the Center and state, we can bring in funds for development in Kalyan and Dombivali. “People are joining us. Seven corporators have already joined us and we are hopeful more people will join us in future. We are looking at over 62 seats. Even Sena corporators have joined us.”
Congress NCP tie up
The Congress and NCP are considering to tie up for the KDMC polls with a 70-30 formula, with Congress bagging the larger share.