Lok Sabha elections 2014: Sena hits out at BJP again

Mar 14, 2014, 08:19 IST | Varun Singh

In a strongly worded editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the party expressed its doubts over whether the BJP would
stick to its commitment of not cosying up with archrival MNS

Just when the BJP thought it had settled matters between itself and its miffed ally Shiv Sena, an editorial appeared in the latter’s mouthpiece Saamana, expressing doubts over the formers’ promises to keep the alliance alive.

Two days after Shiv Sena chief was assured by visits from BJP’s state chief Devendra Fadnavis and general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy, and a phone call from PM candidate Narendra Modi, an editorial in Saamana raised questions whether the Sena could trust the BJP’s promise that it won’t cosy up to archrival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The editorial in Saamana has criticised the BJP for making allies, in other states, who have been against the Hindutva agenda. File Pic

The piece raises the issue of Hindutva and claims that the Sena would never leave Hindutva for power. Not only this, the Sena has also threatened that if the time comes, they can fight the elections alone.

“We want an assurance from the BJP that it won’t go around making allies, without asking the existing ones. Also, the way it’s tying up with parties isn’t good; it confuses our voters. Not only in Maharashtra, but also in other states, the BJP is allying with parties that opposed the Hindutva agenda,” said a senior Sena leader. The last part referred to BJP joining hands with Ramvilas Paswan in Bihar, who had opposed Modi at one time.

Addressing the media yesterday at his residence, Uddhav Thackeray reiterated that he is awaiting a final comment from Modi and party president Rajnath singh.

BJP says
The party has decided to keep mum on the editorial. Party spokesperson Keshav Upadhyay simply said, “No comments,” when asked about it. However, a senior leader said, on condition of anonymity. “We are trying our best to get Modi as the PM of the country and for this, we are making allies. We agree the MNS issue wasn’t handled in the best way, and such things would be kept in mind henceforth.”

CM’s intervention prevents clash between BJP & Sena
Timely intervention by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan ensured that the two warring partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, steered clear of a fight in the biennial polls to the State Council. Chavan took extra efforts to avoid the elections altogether, fearing cross voting would lead to chaos on the eve of the coming Lok Sabha elections. 

Smart move: The CM’s move helped avoid a head-on collision between the Sena and the BJP

The state council had nine vacancies, for which ten candidates were in the fray – three each from the Congress and NCP, two each from the BJP and the Shiv Sena. Each candidate needs the support of 29 MLAs to get elected in the first round of the preferential voting system. When Shiv Sena, with its 47 MLAs, fielded two candidates, the BJP fumed. The two candidates had little chance of winning, as the Sena was falling short of eleven votes to reach the desired 58 support votes (29 for each candidate). Instead, the BJP felt the Sena should have one candidate, and the rest of the Sena MLAs could vote for BJP to help their two men get elected to the council. The Sena, however, had disagreed to this.

This had led to BJP’s leader of opposition Vinod Tawde, who was also contesting, to meet MNS’ Raj Thackeray, to rake in his 12 MLAs to support him. This meeting had ticked off Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Meanwhile, Chavan himself feared some Congress legislators would cross vote, possibly causing an embarrassment to the Congress candidate — a few years ago, Congress candidate Sudhakar Gangane had suffered defeat due to cross voting.

“Chavan stepped in late night on Wednesday to convince Sena candidate Rahul Narvekar to withdraw his nomination, as no headway between the Sena and BJP was in sight,” sources from the Congress said.

After much dilly-dallying, Narvekar acquiesced, and the nine were elected unopposed.
— Ravikiran Deshmukh

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