A fortnight after BJP president Amit Shah called him on at his residence in Mumbai, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray seems to be reluctant to bridge the gap between the two parties.
Reiterating his stand that the Shiv Sena will go alone in the next election, Thackeray announced Shrinivas Vanga as the party’s candidate in the Palghar Lok Sabha constituency. Interestingly, Vanga had lost the by-election on May 31 to BJP’s Rajendra Gavit.
On the Shiv Sena’s 52nd foundation day on June 19, Thackeray assigned a task to the party workers to go door to door and check whether several schemes being run by the Union as well as the state government have really reached to their beneficiaries.
“They [BJP] are running a campaign ‘Sampark for Samarthan’. You run a ‘Satyashodhan Abhiyan’ (fact finding campaign) to verify whether their claims on development are correct,” Thackeray said.
Thackeray also pointed towards a whispering campaign that suggests that the Lok Sabha elections will be held in December this year, and not in April-May next year. He appealed the party workers to brace for the election.
“Next chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena.” He announced that his party will oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad as well as the Mumbai-Vadodara express highway as both the project will benefit Gujarat more than Maharashtra. No one goes from Mumbai to Ahmedabad for work but a lot of people will come to Mumbai through this route. The BJP has conspired to turn Mumbai into a suburb of Gujarat,” Thackeray alleged.
An insider from Shiv Sena told me that Thackeray might get into an agreement with BJP in Lok Sabha elections but he will definitely go solo in state Assembly elections due in September 2019.
“Most of the MPs want an alliance with BJP for Lok Sabha polls so that they can survive against the united opposition,” he said. He argues that BJP will benefit in a multi corner fight as it happened in Palghar where BJP registered a narrow victory against candidates of Shiv Sena, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and Congress. “If we keep the alliance intact we could easily repeat the feat of 2014 in the state.”
Republican Party of India president and Union minister of state for social justice Ramdas Athawale claims that the Shiv Sena cannot have its chief minister if it goes alone. Political observers point that the Shiv Sena is weak in two major regions of the state, Vidarbha and western Maharashtra which contribute 130 out of 288 Assembly seats.
It had won 30 seats in the region of Mumbai, Thane and Konkan. Even if it repeats its performance in this belt and add some seats in Marathwada and north Maharashtra but fails to shine in Vidarbha and western Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena could not reach beyond 70 seats.
In this case, the Shiv Sena will have to play second fiddle to whichever the single-largest party, in case it wants to join the government.
(Courtesy of Mail Today)