As part of the ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ launched by the BJP, party president Amit Shah is set to meet Shiv Sen chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Wednesday. The traditional allies have drifted apart in recent times with the Shiv Sena asserting that it will contest the 2019 General Elections alone and may even consider joining the United Opposition.
Recently, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut asserted that the party is problematic for the BJP. He said, “The Shiv Sena is the biggest political enemy of the BJP. The Sena’s radical Hinduism would prove problematic for the BJP.” Following BJP’s victory in the Palghar by-polls, Uddhav Thackeray reiterated his party’s intentions of competing for 2019 elections alone.
Meanwhile, a BJP leader has stated that Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, wants the office-bearers of the party to formalize a pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena. Raosaheb Danve, chief of BJP’s state unit, told reporters, “Fadnavis asked the party’s state office-bearers to try for a pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena. But, he said that if the alliance does not materialise, we should prepare to contest alone.”
Shiv Sena had announced the decision to contest the Lok Sabha polls alone on the day of Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary this year. However, the writing was on the wall for a while. Uddhav Thackeray also met with controversial Patidar leader, Hardik Patel, whose associates have often used extremely derogatory words for Prime Minister Modi. The Shiv Sena chief also met with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and deemed her to be a ‘tigress’ making many people wonder how could the saffron party’s Hindutva make peace with Didi’s minority appeasement. Uddhav Thackeray has also called the Modi government the ‘worst’ ever and criticized demonetization as well.
With the BJP unlikely to retain its tally of 70+ in Uttar Pradesh from 2014 against a united opposition of Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party, Maharashtra assumes even greater significance in the larger scheme of things. Chandrakant Patil, state BJP Minister for PWD and Revenue, admitted that without an alliance between the two parties, elections could be a cakewalk for the Congress-NCP combine. However, BJP leaders remain optimistic about the possibility of an alliance with Shiv Sena with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari asserting that he wants the alliance to continue.