If the BJP expected the Shiv Sena to make up its mind about where it stood vis-à-vis its erstwhile ally at least after the election results came in, it was in for an unpleasant surprise yesterday.
Uddhav Thackeray arrives at Sena Bhavan for a meeting with the party’s newly elected MLAs yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan
The mixed signals that the Shiv Sena had been giving from Uddhav Thackeray comparing the BJP electoral team to Afzal Khan’s army and a Saamna editorial speaking about Narendra Modi’s father to an article in the mouthpiece just before the results stating that the Sena and BJP should let bygones be bygones continued yesterday.
While Uddhav had hinted after the results on Sunday that he was waiting for the BJP to come forward with a proposal, a Saamna editorial had the Shiv Sena lashing out at its former ally yesterday, accusing it of letting the Congress and NCP gain by dividing the votes.
The editorial not only left leaders in the BJP baffled, it surprised some in the Sena as well. Lauding the Sena’s performance, the editorial said, “The whole of the BJP from Narendra Modi and Union ministers to the CMs of BJP-ruled states campaigned against the Shiv Sena. In spite of all this, Sena fought well and gave a commendable performance.”
Slamming the BJP, the editorial said that while the division of votes had helped the BJP, it had also helped the Congress and NCP as they got more seats than expected. “Is the common voter happy with the results of the elections?” the editorial asked. Sena MP Sanjay Raut even addressed the media at Sena Bhavan yesterday afternoon, but he refused to comment on the editorial.
Uddhav had called for a meeting of the newly elected MLAs at Sena Bhavan and they left the decision on alliances on the Sena chief. The Sena now has to decide on the group leader of the party in the Assembly, the frontrunners for which are are Eknath Shinde, Sunil Prabhu, Gulabrao Patil, and Ravindra Waikar. Shinde is most likely to get the post.
According to a Sena leader, Uddhav has decided that he won’t go anywhere nor talk to anyone in the BJP, but if they come and talk to him, he won’t shy away from doing so. “He will hold talks if the BJP approaches him, as Uddhav also wants a government to be formed in the state,” said a senior Sena leader.